The global law firm Jones Day represented Idenix Pharmaceuticals, LLC (Idenix), a subsidiary of Merck & Co (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, in trial before a jury in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, which ordered Gilead Sciences, Inc. to pay $2.54 billion in damages for sales of sofosbuvir-based medicines including Sovaldi and Harvoni, as they infringe upon an Idenix patent for methods for the treatment of patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
The jury's verdict upholds patent protection that is essential to the development of new medical treatments. Given that it guarantees a period of return on investment, patent protection provides the research-based pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries with an incentive to invest in research and development.
The jury awarded the damages as compensation for infringement through August 2016. In its decision, the jury also concluded that Gilead "willfully" infringed upon the patent. As a result, Chief Judge Leonard P. Stark may, at his discretion, increase the damages award up to a multiple of three times.