A battle between Merck and Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) with multi-billion dollars at the stake is likely to kickstart in a California court this week. It all started when Merck claimed that it had developed the treatment that Gilead Sciences transformed into a blockbuster Hepatitis C drug and made billions of dollars in sales revenues.
As per the reports, both the firms will present their arguments in front of the jury later this week. Gilead Sciences is confident of its strong position in the case and hopes to convince the jury Hepatitis C treatments Harvoni and Sovaldi didn’t belong to any other company.
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In 2015, both of these drugs generated overall $19.1 billion in revenues globally and $12.5 billion in the United States. Merck claims that Gilead Sciences has used sofosbuvir in both these drugs, infringing two of Merck’s patents. It has demanded a royalty from Gilead Sciences for violating patent laws.
The rivalry between two companies isn’t new. Back in 2013, Gilead Sciences had filed a lawsuit against Merck claiming that both of its patents were invalid and that it owned nothing to Merck. Amid the ongoing battle, Merck has started selling its own Hepatitis C drug named Zepatier.
Over the last few years, many companies have begun this practice of filing lawsuit against others, hoping to grab a tiny share of profit if not anything else. Hepatitis C treatment is popular and very much in demand, so this claim by Merck is under the radar of law agencies. Markman Advisors’ Co-Founder and well-known patent attorney, Gaston Kroub, said that the profit made by Gilead Sciences in the year 2015 has prompted Merck to take such a step at this time.
Not long ago, Gilead Sciences faced allegation from AbbVie that it had infringed its patents regarding treatments covering hepatitis c virus. It will be great to see how Gilead Sciences handle these claims and come out clean.