Gilead to get attorney fees in hepatitis C patent fight with Merck

(Reuters) - Gilead Sciences Inc is entitled to receive the attorney fees it incurred related to hepatitis C patent litigation with drugmaker Merck & Co Inc, a U.S. district judge has ruled.

In June, Gilead was freed from paying up $200 million in damages for infringing two Merck patents related to Gilead’s blockbuster drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni, after a U.S. judge found a pattern of misconduct by Merck including lying under oath and other unethical practices.

In a filing on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman said that Gilead was entitled to relief from the fees it incurred while defending the case.

Merck is trying to catch up to Gilead, which dominates the market on a new generation of hepatitis C drugs that can cure well over 90 percent of patients with the liver disease.

The case dates back to 2013 when Gilead and Merck sued each other, claiming ownership of laboratory work underlying sofosbuvir, the active ingredient in Gilead’s drugs.

The case is Gilead Sciences, Inc v Merck & Co, Inc, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 13-cv-4057.

Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler