The intellectual property world was abuzz last month when Merck subsidiary Idenix Pharmaceuticals won a record-setting $2.54 billion patent infringement case against Gilead Sciences Inc. – the largest such patent verdict in U.S. history. The win is that much more impressive given that it’s the first IP case tried by Jones Day partner Stephanie E. Parker, who co-leads the firm’s business and tort litigation practice and its product liability litigation practice.
“This is my first patent case. It’s my first IP work,” Parker told The American Lawyer. “But honestly, I think a jury trial is a jury trial is a jury trial and jury persuasion and jury advocacy goes across all substantive lines.”
The case focused on a compound in drugs used to treat Hepatitis C, a virus that affects an estimated 130 million to 150 million people worldwide. Idenix patented the compound in 2009, and Gilead’s Hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni were patented in 2013 and 2014. Collectively, Gilead has sold $25.4 billion of the two drugs.
The Delaware federal court judge hearing the case had already determined that Sovaldi and Harvoni infringed Idenix’s patents, but it was left to a jury to consider Gilead’s argument that Idenix’s patent was invalid. The jury rejected that argument, saying Gilead owes a 10 percent royalty to the Merck subsidiary. The judge has yet to rule on whether Gildead’s infringement was intentional, which could result in treble damages.
Gilead has vowed to appeal the judgment.
Seasoned Trial Lawyer
Although the Idenix verdict was Parker’s first in the patent arena, she’s an experienced trial lawyer with more than 20 years of experience under her belt. According to her bio on Jones Day’s website – a bio where neither the word “patent” nor the phrase “intellectual property” appears – she’s defended tobacco, chemical, pharmaceutical, gasoline, medical device and automotive clients in product liability cases, and also has experience trying cases in areas such as banking, breach of contract, the First Amendment and white collar crime.
Some of her other high-profile work focuses on defending R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in so-called Engle progeny cases. The cases are named after Howard Engle, a Florida pediatrician and long-time smoker who was the lead plaintiff in a class action against the tobacco companies filed in Dade County Circuit Court in 1994. A jury found in favor of the plaintiffs, awarding them $194 billion in July 2000. The verdict was subsequently overturned by the Florida Third District Court of Appeal in May 2003, and the Florida Supreme Court then decertified the class action, but allowed its members – an estimated 100,000 smokers – to file individual lawsuits, which are now known as Engle progeny cases.
In her interview with The American Lawyer, Parker underscored the opportunities but challenging choices that women lawyers sometimes have to make.
“But one issue our society has to face, if you do jury trial work, you can’t leave at 3 in the afternoon,” Parker told the magazine. “So I think that there is some self-selection by younger women. I think it’s wonderful women have those options and choices, but in terms of moving forward on a linear career path, I think that is definitely an issue for our society.”
Perkins Coie has named Katie O’Sullivan as chair of the firm’s national commercial litigation practice, Karen McGaffey as chair of the firm’s national environment, energy and resources practice, and Cori Gordon Moore as leader of the firm’s commercial litigation practice in Seattle.
Hogan Lovells partner Claire Dutch has been named as the firm’s UK Planning Head, effective in January.
Barnes & Thornburg has elected several women to firm leadership positions. Karen McGee has been elected secretary of the management committee and office managing partner for Washington, D.C.; Connie A. Lahn has been elected Minneapolis office managing partner; and Terri L. Bruksch and Melissa A. Vallone have been elected management committee member at large.
McDermott Will & Emery partner Dr. Sabine Konrad has been appointed as an arbitrator to the panel of arbitrators of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre.
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith partner Willow I. Arnold has been elected as the next president of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association. Beginning in 2017 she will serve as the association’s president-elect and will serve as its president in 2018.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS
New York’s City Bar Justice Center honored two women as Pro Bono Heroes: Angela Ni, an associate at Paul Hastings, and Virginia F. Tent, who is counsel at Latham & Watkins.
Financial Times recognized several women as part of its North America Innovative Lawyers Report. Harriet Pearson, a partner with Hogan Lovells, was named Legal Innovator of the Year and The Clorox Co. Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Affairs Laura Stein was named Most Innovative General Counsel. Also shortlisted for the Legal Innovator of the Year award were Jayne Fleming, pro bono counsel at Reed Smith; Lori Lightfoot, partner at Mayer Brown; Vivian Maese, partner at Latham & Watkins; Andrea Reid, partner at Dechert; and Miriam Wugmeister, partner at Morrison & Foerster.
National Law Journal has named its 2016 class of Litigation Trailblazers. Honorees included Apalla U. Chopra, partner at O’Melveny & Myers; Carrie H. Cohen, partner at Morrison & Foerster; Marshall, Gerstein & Borun partners Maureen Beacom Gorman and Julianne Hartzell, and associate Tiffany Gehrke; Joan A. Lukey, partner at Choate Hall & Stewart; Sharon L. Nelles, partner at Sullivan & Cromwell; Stephanie Resnick, partner at Fox Rothschild; Lisa “Lee” A. Schreter, partner and board chair at Littler Mendelson; Angela M. Spivey, partner at McGuireWoods; and Pamela J. Yates, partner at Kaye Scholer.
Variety has released its Dealmakers Impact Report 2016. The honorees include Nancy Bruington and Libby Savill, who are both partners at Latham & Watkins; Ruth Fisher, co-chair of the media, entertainment, and tech practice at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Carolyn Hunt, partner at Barnes & Thornburg; Dina LaPolt, owner of LaPolt Law; Linda Michaelson, partner and entertainment and digital media practice co-leader at Sheppard Mullin; Alissa Miller, senior counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; Gina Reif Ilardi, partner at Jenner & Block; Marissa Roman Griffith, partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; Nina Shaw, founding partner at Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano; Amy Siegel, partner at O’Melveny & Myers; and Susan Williams, partner at Loeb & Loeb.
The Boston Globe and the Commonwealth Institute released their annual Top 100 Women-Led Businesses list, and Boston-based WilmerHale, which is led by co-managing partner Susan Murley, was the only law firm to make the list.
Davis Polk partner Annette Nazareth was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by Markets Media at the 2nd Annual Markets Choice Awards: Women in Finance. She leads the firm’s trading and markets practice.
Fortune recognized several law firms in its annual list of the 50 Best Workplaces for Parents. Alston & Bird; Arnold & Porter; Baker Donelson; Cooley; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; and Perkins Coie were all honored.
Mary Benton, a partner at Alston & Bird, has been awarded the Atlanta Bar Association’s 2016 Pro Bono Award.
Duane Morris associate Meghan E. Claiborne was honored with the Sean Peretta Service Award by the Young Lawyers Division of the Philadelphia Bar Association.
Haynes and Boone partner Kit Addleman has been named a 2016 Outstanding Nonprofit Director by the Dallas Business Journal and the Nonprofit Board Leader of the Year by CNM Connect for her stellar work with the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas.
PRESENTATIONS AND SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
Simpson Thacher partner Sara Razi spoke at the ABA Section of Antitrust Law Economics Committee program “Dangerous Diversification: Can Investor Ownership in Competing Firms Produce Actionable Anticompetitive Effects?” She also presented at the 12th annual meeting of the American College of Business Court Judges, where she was a panelist on “Devolving the Affordable Care Act: Implications for Hospitals, Health Insurers, and the Health Care Industry.” Partner Mary Touchstone was a panelist at the Finance Forum. And associate Yafit Cohn moderated a panel titled “Proxy 2017: Trends from 2016 and a Look Ahead” at the ABA Business Law Section’s 2016 fall meeting.
Anna-Liza Harris, national co-head of Katten Muchin Rosenman’s structured finance and securitization practice, co-hosted a fireside chat at the Structured Finance Industry Group’s (SFIG) Women in Securitization initiative event.
Several Greenberg Traurig spoke at conferences recently. Shareholder Ginger Pigott was a panelist on “Hot Topics: M&A, IP, Financing and Products Liability Trends Impacting MedTech Companies” at DeviceTalks West. Shareholder Ilene Katz Kobert spoke at the Dade County Bar Association’s Real Property Committee seminar titled, “ABC’s of Commercial Leasing.” Shareholders Lori G. Cohen and Sara K. Thompson spoke at the American Conference Institute’s 21st Drug & Medical Device Litigation Conference. Cohen moderated the opening GC and CLO Roundtable: “What Keeps Me Up at Night When Faced With a Products Liability Action” and Thompson was a panelist on “Mock Medical Device Preemption Motion to Dismiss: Formulating a Robust Defense Strategy for Sales Reps in the OR, MDR-based claims, Off-Label and More.” Shareholders Nanette Aguirre and Obiamaka P. Madubuko participated in the Florida Alternative Investment Association’s (FLAIA) A Global Macro Perspective forum. Aguirre, who also sits on the board of FLAIA, delivered opening remarks regarding market trends and projections for 2017 and moderated a cyber security panel, on which Madubuko was a panelist. Shareholder Dana Hooper has been named faculty associate at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and WP Carey School of Business, where she will teach a sports law and business course.
King & Spalding partner Sara Kay Wheeler presented on “Overlapping and Concurrent Surgeries” at the Health Care Compliance Association’s Complimentary 2017 Compliance Institute Preview.
Ponsinelli counsel Cybil G. Roehrenbeck was vice chair of the American Bar Association Health Law Section will host the 14th annual Washington Health Law Summit, where she moderated a keynote speaker panel and organized talks on “Precision Medicine: Understanding Medicare Coverage and Reimbursement,” and “The New Normal: Telehealth Gains Traction.” Additionally, shareholder Sidney Welch was a panelist on “Going Micro with MACRA: The Rule, the Implementation, and the Realities.” Polsinelli shareholder Leane K. Capps recently facilitated a discussion with US Supreme Court Justice Justice Elena Kagan at the Appellate Judges Education Institute 2016 Summit.