Richards Layton & Finger
 

Chief Judge Stark Denies Request for Enhanced Damages

October 12, 2017

In Indenix Pharmaceutical LLC and Universita Degli Studi di Cagliari v. Gilead Sciences, Inc., C.A. No. 14-846-LPS (D. Del. Sept. 22, 2017), Chief Judge Stark considered a motion for enhanced damages filed by Indenix Pharmaceuticals LLC after a jury found Gilead Sciences, Inc. liable for infringement. The jury awarded Indenix $2.54 billion, and the Court awarded pre-judgment interest. In addition, the jury also found Gilead’s infringement was willful. The finding of willful infringement opened the door for Judge Stark to enhance damages. Upon consideration of the Read factors, which are relied upon by district courts in deciding whether to enhance damages, Judge Stark found that enhancement was not warranted.

In its analysis, the Court found some factors favored and others strongly disfavored enhancement. Of particular concern was the “closeness of the case” factor, which the Court concluded strongly disfavored enhancement. Although Indenix won each motion before the Court and the jury found for Indenix, the Court stated that every motion was a close call that easily could have gone the other way. Further, the Court found that had motions been decided differently, Gilead likely would have received a favorable jury finding. Accordingly, the Court refused to enhance damages.

Key Point: Even in large cases, enhancement is rare. Here, Chief Judge Stark found that the case was well litigated and a “close call.”