Judge: Merck's A Liar, Has Dirty Hands; Gilead Won't Have To Pay
Gilead Sciences Inc. scored a victory in its patent dispute with Merck & Co. Inc., in which the latter company was accused by a federal judge of lying, egregious misconduct and being guilty of "unclean hands," and therefore, could not collect the $200m jury award the big pharma had earlier won.
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A federal judge reopened a patent infringement case after finding an "unclean hands" argument compelling enough to consider, in which Gilead Sciences Inc. alleged one of Merck & Co. Inc.'s patent attorneys had lied about not being on a confidential conference call where chemical structure details about the predecessor to Sovaldi were discussed.
A jury in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, which decided earlier in the week that Gilead Sciences Inc. infringed two of Merck & Co. Inc.'s hepatitis C drug patents, determined on March 24 that Gilead should pay its rival $200m – a sum much lower than what Merck sought when the companies' patent dispute began in 2013.
Merck & Co. gained the FDA's go-ahead on Jan. 28 to market Zepatier (elbasvir and grazoprevir) as a treatment for adults with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes (GTs) 1 or 4 infection, with or without ribavirin (RBV).