The Hepatitis C treatment patent dispute between Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) and Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) has made it to the cover pages of all the leading publications once again. As per the reports, a federal jury announced the final verdict in this high-profile dispute in the favor of Merck.
Both the companies had their differences on hepatitis C cure as Merck claimed that Gilead violated the U.S. patent law. Now that the jury has taken Merck’s side, Gilead Sciences may have to pay an enormous amount of royalty payment to its rival.
Insights of Matter
In 2015, Gilead Sciences earned over $19.2 billion in revenues from the sales of its hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni. Merck has demanded around $2 billion in damages from Gilead Sciences in addition to 10% share in its future sales. Although the jury has favored Merck, it hasn’t announced the total amount that Gilead Sciences is liable to pay to Merck.
As soon as the announcement was made, Gilead plunged by $1.92 whereas Merck went up by 57 cents in after-hour trading.
Reporters tried to get in touch with the representatives of both the companies to know their opinions on this verdict. Michele Rest, spokeswoman, Gilead Sciences, said that it’s disappointing to see such a verdict from the jury. However, there are a number of issues that haven’t been decided yet, so Gilead Sciences is hoping for the best outcome.
A spokeswoman from Merck said that the jury’s verdict shows the clear picture of this case. It’s important to protect patents in innovations, and the government should take active measures for the same.
Merck had contacted Gilead Sciences in 2013 for the first time saying that sofosbuvir, one of the ingredients used by the company in its hepatitis C drug infringed Merck’s patent. The jury is yet to take a final call on how much should Gilead Sciences pay as the royalty fees and penalty.