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Merck loses bid to revive $200 million Gilead verdict at U.S. high court

Reuters  |  WASHINGTON 

By Jan Wolfe

(Reuters) - The on Monday handed a defeat to by refusing to hear its appeal of a ruling that it had dishonestly obtained patent rights and could not collect a $200 million verdict against rival drugmaker Inc in a dispute involving blockbuster drugs.

A jury awarded Merck $200 million in 2016 after finding Gilead's drugs and infringed two of its patents, but a later ruled the patents unenforceable because of a pattern of misconduct by Merck including lying under oath by one of its in-house lawyers.

Merck had urged the Supreme Court to place limits on the doctrine of "unclean hands" that can prevent plaintiffs from winning lawsuits if they acted in bad faith.

Hepatitis C, estimated to infect about 3.2 million Americans, is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the liver that can lead to liver failure. Injection drug use is among the causes of the infection.

Direct-acting anti-viral medications like Gilead's and have revolutionized treatment of hepatitis C, with cure rates of more than 90 percent. Merck holds patents that it has said cover a compound that is the foundation for all major antiviral treatments for chronic

A federal court jury in San Jose, awarded Merck $200 million in 2016 after finding and infringed two of its patents.

A threw out the verdict later that year, ruling that in the process of applying for one of the patents, Merck used confidential information it obtained in 2004 while discussing a possible partnership with Inc, a company Gilead bought in 2011.

The also said a Merck in-house testified untruthfully in a deposition and at trial about his participation in a confidential call with personnel.

Merck's litigation against Gilead has included several reversals of fortune.

In 2016, a jury in said Gilead infringed a related patent and ordered it to pay Merck $2.54 billion in royalties, the largest verdict ever in a patent case. But a judge threw out the verdict in February 2018, ruling that Merck's patent was invalid because it was not sufficiently detailed in its wording.

(Reporting by and Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, January 07 2019. 20:59 IST
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