Merck believes the jury's verdict accurately reflects the evidence in this case. Strong patent protection is essential to innovation. Given that it guarantees a firm 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 will now consider the damages to be awarded to Merck and Ionis Pharmacueticals, co-inventors of the patents and co-plaintiffs in the case.
Additional background information:
· A jury in the United States District Court, Northern District of California found in favor of Merck and Ionis Pharmaceuticals today in a trial regarding the validity of two Merck and Ionis Pharmaceuticals patents for compounds and methods used to develop treatments for the hepatitis C virus.
· The compounds and methods at issue in this case facilitated significant advances in the treatment of individuals with hepatitis C and were appropriately granted patent protection. Achieving these advancements required many years of research and significant investment by Merck, Ionis Pharmaceuticals and their partners.
· In this lawsuit, which was initially filed by Gilead seeking a declaratory judgment that Merck and Ionis Pharmaceuticals' patents were invalid, we have not sought to restrict access to Sovaldi or Harvoni in the United States, but instead asked for due compensation for the use of our intellectual property rights.
· The compounds and methods in question relate to patents Nos. 7,105,499 and 8,481,712.