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Judge overturns ruling on patent after finding Merck lied to court

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i3354 (Published 14 June 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i3354
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

Citing a “pervasive pattern of misconduct by Merck and its agents,” a California federal judge has stripped the company of its right to enforce patent claims against its rival Gilead Sciences over Gilead’s best selling hepatitis C treatments.1

The decision came just three months after Merck won a patent infringement case against Gilead, winning $200m (£140m; $180m) in damages and the potentially far more lucrative right to pursue royalties on sales of the drugs, sofosbuvir (which Gilead markets as Sovaldi) and ledipasvir with sofosbuvir (Harvoni), which so far have earned Gilead $23bn.

Merck will not now collect that money, after the US district court judge Beth Labson Freeman found that a retired Merck scientist and lawyer “intentionally fabricated testimony” and …

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