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California's Gilead, Israel's Teva settle patent row over HIV drug

A California pharmaceutical company has settled its patent dispute with a rival drugmaker over a treatment for HIV and Hepatitis B. News of the settlement adjourns a trial that was to start on Feb. 20.

Gilead Sciences, Inc., which is headquartered in Foster City, sued Israeli company Teva Pharmaceuticals in 2008 and again in 2010, alleging that an application Teva made to the USDA to manufacture medication to treat HIV in adults infringed on four of Gilead's patents.

Gilead makes Viread, a potent antiviral medication. It is the world's largest maker of branded drugs to treat HIV. Teva makes a generic version of Viread.

For its part, Teva had alleged that Gilead's patents were not valid, so infringement was impossible.

Under the terms of the settlement, Teva will withdraw its generic version of Viread until at least Dec. 15, 2017. In a statement, Gilead's president said he thinks Gilad had the upper hand, but added that settling does away with the distraction of a lawsuit.

It does not appear that any money exchanged hands in this settlement.

This case does a good job of illustrating how a settlement that apparently mutually satisfactory to both parties can prevent the expense and hassle of a lawsuit. Of course, such settlements do not appear out of thin air. We have no doubt it took teams from both sides an extensive amount of negotiation, discussion and strategizing to reach this point.

If you are ever involved in a matter that seems like it might lead to litigation, enlisting the help of an attorney sooner rather than later may open up more choices for you.

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