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Fish & Richardson Litigation Team Named California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year Over Hep C Case

A team of litigation attorneys from, law firm Fish & Richardson are among the recipients of the Daily Journal’s California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year (CLAY) . They received their gong for the firm’s handling of a high-dollar patent victory involving pharmaceutical giants Gilead Science Inc. and Merck & Co., Inc.

The Fish team, representing Gilead, was led by co-counsel Juanita Brooks and Jon Singer,  based in the firm’s Southern California/San Diego office. Attorneys Chad Shear, also of the firm’s Southern California office, and John Farrell of Fish’s Silicon Valley/Redwood City office, were also instrumental in trying the matter.

“The case was about the cure for Hepatitis C and who really invented it,” said Singer in a profile of the case that appeared in the Daily Journal. At issue were patents for the multi-billion-dollar drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni, which are cures for Hepatitis C.

In a 2017 trial, Fish’s litigation team turned what had been a $2 billion damages demand against Gilead, into $14 million in legal fees for Gilead. Fish secured the win by first slashing damages against Gilead to $200 million, one-tenth of the original demand, and then later convincing the judge that Merck and its attorneys were guilty of unclean hands due to the dishonest actions of Merck’s legal counsel, leading the judge to wipe out the entire verdict and awarding legal fees for Gilead, to be paid for by Merck.

“The trial court found that Merck’s patents…were tainted by Merck’s business and litigation misconduct and so could not be enforced against Gilead,” said Singer. “The ruling itself is very unique – the largest verdict I am aware of that has been held unenforceable for unclean hands.”

In the ruling for fees, the judge noted that Gilead should not be “liable for defending an action in which the record demonstrated egregious misconduct” by Merck.

The CLAY award recipients were honored at a dinner on March 21 in San Francisco.

Cognate extends our congratulations to the team.

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