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Irell Helps Reverse Largest Patent Verdict In History for Gilead


A team of lawyers from Gilead Sciences' in-house legal department (Lorie Ann Morgan, Patricia Thayer, Andrea Hutchison), Irell & Manella, Fish & Richardson and Orrick convinced Chief Judge Leonard Stark of the District of Delaware to reverse a $2-billion patent verdict, the largest patent verdict in history, awarded against Gilead in late 2016 for Idenix, a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck. Judge Stark found all of the asserted claims of the patent at issue (the ’597 patent) invalid for lack of enablement. 

Judge Stark wrote, “A reasonable jury, even taking all evidence in the light most favorable to Idenix and drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of Idenix, could only have concluded that Idenix’s ’597 patent is invalid due to lack of enablement. The only reasonable finding, based on the trial record, is that Gilead met its burden to prove nonenablement by clear and convincing evidence. The trial revealed that there are no genuinely disputed material facts with respect to enablement. Accordingly, Gilead is entitled to judgment as a matter of law that the asserted claims of the ’597 patent are invalid due to lack of enablement”

Irell appeared in the case after the verdict was handed down and before the entry judgment and the beginning of post-judgment briefing. The Irell team included Jason Sheasby, Dr. Annita Zhong and Christopher Abernethy.  

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