Jury Orders Gilead To Pay $200 Mln To Merck For Hepatitis C Patents


On Thursday, Gilead Sciences was ordered by a federal jury in San Jose, California, to pay $200 million to Merck & Co. for infringing patents related to hepatitis C drugs.

Merck’s demand was $2 billion in damages.

The order follows the same jury’s Tuesday upholding the validity of the patents, which lie at the heart of the dispute over Gilead’s blockbuster drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni. Merck wants a share of the sales of these two medicines, which generated more than $20 billion in U.S. sales in 2014 and 2015, Reuters reported.

In 2013, the two companies filed a suit against each other in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Merck wants a 10% royalty on Gilead’s sales going forward. This is another issue that is set to be argued in a separate non-jury trial before U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman next week.

“We are pleased that the jury recognized that patent protections are essential to the development of new medical treatments. The compounds and methods at issue in this case facilitated significant advances in the treatment of patients with HCV infection, and achieving these advancements required many years of research and significant investment by Merck and its partners,” Merck said in a statement.

Gilead said in a statement that they “do not believe Merck is entitled to any amount of damages.”

“We continue to believe the Merck patents are invalid,” the company said, noting that it would appeal if the judge upholds the jury’s verdict.