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Civix-Ddi, LLC v. Hotels.Com

December 18, 2012

CIVIX-DDI, LLC, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HOTELS.COM, L.P. AND HOTELS.COM GP, LLC, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Amy J. St. Eve, District Court Judge:

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

On December 6, 2005, Plaintiff CIVIX-DDI, LLC ("Civix") filed a Complaint alleging patent infringement by Hotels.com L.P. and Hotels.Com GP, LLC, (collectively "Hotels.com" or "Defendants"), and other companies no longer in this litigation. (R. 1, Compl.) In its Second Amended Complaint, Civix accused Hotels.com of infringing claims 20 and 26 of U.S. Patent No. 6,385,622 ("the '622 patent") and claim 23 of U.S. Patent No. 6,415,291 ("the '291 patent").

(R. 203, Sec. Amend. Compl.) On February 3, 2010, Hotels.com filed an answer to the Second Amended Complaint, alleging counterclaims, including breach of contract. (R. 585, Sec. Amend. Ans.) On August 19, 2011, the Court granted summary judgment of noninfringement of claims 20 and 26 of the '622 patent and claim 23 of the '291 patent. (R. 700, Sum. Jgmt. Op.) On November 1, 2012, the Court granted Civix's motion for reconsideration based on a change in the law, thereby reviving Civix's claim that Hotels.com induced infringement in relation to the elements of claim 23 of the '291 patent. (R. 741, Recon. Op.) The Court set a trial date of January 22, 2013 to address Civix's claim of induced infringement of claim 23 of the '291 patent and Hotels.com's breach of contract counterclaim. (R. 718, Min. Ent.; R. 777, Proposed Pretrial Order.) Before the Court are Hotels.com's Motions in Limine Nos. 1, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

BACKGROUND

The Court presumes familiarity with the factual and procedural background of this litigation. For a detailed discussion of this case, see, for example, the Court's Memorandum Opinion and Order that granted Hotels.com's motion for summary judgment of non-infringement. (R. 700, Sum. Jgmt. Op.)

LEGAL STANDARD

"Although the Federal Rules of Evidence do not explicitly authorize in limine rulings, the practice has developed pursuant to the district court's inherent authority to manage the course of trials." Luce v. United States, 469 U.S. 38, 41 n. 4, 105 S. Ct. 460, 83 L. Ed. 2d 443 (1984). In limine rulings avoid delay and allow the parties the opportunity to prepare themselves and witnesses for the introduction or exclusion of the applicable evidence. See Wilson v. Williams, 182 F.3d 562, 566 (7th Cir.1999); United States v. Connelly, 874 F.2d 412, 416 (7th Cir. 1989). Trial courts have broad discretion in ruling on evidentiary issues before and during trial. See Christmas, v. City of Chi., 682 F.3d 632, 640 (7th Cir. 2012). Moreover, regardless of the Court's initial ruling on a motion in limine, the Court may alter its discretionary ruling during trial. See Luce, 469 U.S. at 41-42; Farfaras v. Citizens Bank & Trust of Chi., 433 F.3d 558, 565 (7th Cir. 2006). The Court will only grant a motion in limine when the evidence is clearly inadmissible for any purpose. See Jonasson v. Lutheran Child & Family Servs., 115 F.3d 436, 440 (7th Cir.1997); Betts v. City of Chi., Ill., 784 F. Supp. 2d 1020, 1023 (N.D. Ill. 2011).

ANALYSIS

I. Hotels.com's Motion in Limine No 1. - Exclude Revisitation of any Findings in this Court's Grant of Partial Summary Judgment on Grounds of License Hotels.com seeks an order from the Court precluding Civix from offering evidence or argument contradicting or revisiting any of the legal findings contained in the Court's grant of partial summary judgment on grounds of license. (R. 754, Def.'s MIL No. 1 at 1, 4.) Civix agrees that neither party may introduce contradictory evidence or argument with regards to six findings outlined in Hotels.com's Motion in Limine No. 1. (R. 798, Pl.'s Resp. MIL No. 1 at 1-2.) Based on this agreement, the Court grants Hotels.com's Motion in Limine No. 1 regarding the following six findings, which are law of the case:

1) The Navteq Agreement is governed by Illinois law;

2) The covenant-not-to-sue covers the '622 patent, the '307 patent, the '291 patent and the '691 patent (also identified on page 3 of Hotels.com's motion);

3) Hotels.com is a third-party beneficiary to the Navteq Agreement (also identified on page 3 of Hotels.com's motion);

4) The Navteq-Maporama License Agreement and the Maporama-Hotels.com License Agreement do not limit Hotels.com's third-party beneficiary rights under the Navteq Agreement;

5) The term "any products, processes, systems, and/or services that use and/or incorporate all or any part of the NAVTECH Technology" found in the Navteq Agreement is unambiguous as a matter of law ...


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