Merck Ordered to Pay $14 Million in Attorneys’ Fees to Rival Gilead After a Patent Infringement Trial Involving Hepatitis C Drugs
On July 14, 2017, in a stunning reversal of fortune, a federal court in San Jose, CA, which had previously set aside a $200 million jury verdict in favor of Merck, has now awarded accused infringer Gilead Sciences $13,857,106 in attorneys’ fees. Merck and several affiliates had asserted two U.S. patents against Gilead’s successful Solvadi® and Harvoni® drugs for oral treatments of Hepatitis C. The federal judge threw out the $200 million jury verdict after finding that Merck had improperly used confidential information from Gilead’s predecessor in obtaining the asserted patents, and then sought to conceal its misconduct during the litigation. In view of Merck’s misconduct, the court awarded Gilead its attorneys’ fees. The nearly $14 million in fees awarded by the court represents 90% of the amount requested by Gilead.
The underlying merits of this case are currently on appeal, and Gilead and Merck are engaged in additional litigation relating to the Solvadi® and Harvoni® drugs in other jurisdictions.
CalAmp Hit with Treble Damages for Willful Infringement of a Patent Assertion Entity’s Portfolio of Auto Tracking Patents
In a final judgment dated July 19, 2017, a Florida federal court awarded treble damages to Omega Patents, a non-practicing patent licensing entity, for the infringement of five patents directed to vehicle control systems and trackers. The court also awarded over $1 million in costs and attorneys’ fees, as well as interest and supplemental damages for later sales, for a total judgement of over $15 million.
CalAmp manufactures electronic devices for monitoring motor vehicles, such as those employed by insurance companies to provide usage-based insurance rates to consumers. A jury in February 2016 found that CalAmp had willfully infringed Omega’s patents and awarded Omega $2,975,200. The district court trebled this award – the maximum enhancement allowed by the patent statute – in part because CalAmp had known about Omega’s patents and infringement allegations well before it launched the accused products. The court also faulted CalAmp for dubious testimony by its president that directly contradicted the testimony of a CalAmp engineer and CalAmp’s responses to formal interrogatories earlier in the litigation.