Gilead Legal Team Overturns Largest Patent Judgment in History


A federal district court judge has knocked out the largest patent verdict in history.  In a long running dispute over Gilead’s blockbuster Hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni, Merck subsidiary Idenix Pharmaceuticals accused Gilead of infringing an Idenix patent.  When the case proceeded to trial, Gilead argued that Idenix’s patent was invalid, but the jury rejected that argument and found Gilead’s infringement was willful.  After a ten-day trial, the jury awarded Idenix $2.54 billion in damages.  In Friday’s ruling, the district court granted Gilead’s post-trial motions and held the patent was invalid, wiping out the damages award. 

An Orrick appellate team led by Josh Rosenkranz was part of a multi-firm team that produced that result for Gilead, working in close collaboration with trial counsel at Fish & Richardson, Gilead in-house lawyers, and lawyers at Irell & Manella. 

The team persuade the district judge that no reasonable jury could have found Idenix’s patent was valid.  Calling Gilead’s evidence “devastating,” the judge carefully catalogued the trial testimony and found the evidence was decisively in Gilead’s favor.  In addition, the judge analogized the evidence to “striking[ly]” similar Federal Circuit case law and other recent decisions finding similar patent claims invalid. 

“We are thrilled to have been part of the extraordinary legal team that generated this result,” Josh said. “I’m particularly proud to be affiliated with Gilead, which never wavered in the face of extraordinary pressure, and whose in-house lawyers were integrally involved at every step.  We look forward to working with the same team to defend this win on appeal.”

In addition to Josh, the Orrick lawyers involved were Elizabeth Moulton, Ned Hirschfeld, and Derek Fischer.