Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX) announced after the market close Friday night that the United States Patent and Trademark Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board issued a decision in the first phase of the ongoing interference concerning one of the company's patent applications and an issued patent owned by Gilead Pharmasset (GILD) that covers certain 2'-methyl- 2'-fluoro nucleoside compounds useful in the treatment of the hepatitis C virus. The USPTO issued a decision whereby Idenix was determined to have a later application filing date than Gilead, meaning Idenix was determined to be the 'junior party' and Gilead the 'senior party' in the interference, according to Idenix. The decision that Idenix is the junior party does not determine which party will be deemed first to invent and ultimately prevail in the interference, the company said, adding that the second phase of the interference is expected to commence in the second quarter of 2013 and will determine which party was first to invent. Shares of Gilead are up about 0.9% to $45.91 in pre-market trading following the ruling announcement, while Idenix shares are down 9.8% to $4.15.
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