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Federal jury asks Gilead to pay Merck $2.54 billion in royalties in patent infringement case

Bloomberg called it the biggest patent infringement decision in the history of the U.S.

Pills. (Photo by Flickr user samantha celera, used under a Creative Commons license)

Last week, pharma company Merck & Co. received $2.54 billion in royalties from competitor Gilead Sciences in a patent infringement case, Bloomberg reported. This took place in the U.S. District Court in Wilmington.
“The jury in Wilmington, Delaware, deliberated for less than two hours and rejected Gilead’s arguments that Merck’s patent is invalid,” according to Bloomberg. “The judge in the case had already decided that Merck’s patent was infringed by Gilead’s Sovaldi and Harvoni, which account for more than half the drugmaker’s revenue.”
It was described as the biggest patent infringement in the history of the United States by Bloomberg. Per the story:
“The infringement also was found to be willful, meaning the judge could increase the damage award by as much as three times the amount set by the jury. The jury said on Thursday that Gilead owed 10 percent royalties on $25.4 billion in total sales for the two drugs.”
Now let’s rewind for a minute and look at some history. The biggest beneficiary of this lawsuit was Merck’s subsidary, Idenix. Merck bought Idenix for $3.85 billion a couple of years ago, which was three times its value in 2014. As a result of the purchase, Merck’s Hepatitis C drug portfolio got a boost, a market that Gilead was leading prior to Merck purchasing Idenix. It’s been a space race between both companies in the Hep C market ever since.
Merck donated lab equipment to the new Pennovation Center in University City in Philadelphia a couple of months ago. The company also has a workspace at Drexel’s new incubator, space @3401. Over the summer, Merck met with DreamIt’s spring 2016 cohort.

Companies: Merck
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