As this patent infringement proceeded closer to trial, the parties filed various motions in limine. The plaintiff, PerDiemco, filed a motion in limine to preclude evidence or argument referring to PerDiem's prior settlements as "nuisance value settlements." The defendant, Geotab, contended that it should be permitted to refer to low-value settlements as "nuisance" settlements to rebut PerDiem's accusations of willful infringement.
The district court agreed with PerDiemco, but permitted Geotab to reference the amount of the settlements. "While the Court does not agree that a party's knowledge of low-value settlements has much if any relevance to willfulness, prior settlements are often relevant to damages and thus Geotab is not precluded from presenting evidence or argument regarding the specific value of past settlements that are otherwise deemed admissible."
The district court also permitted Geotab to put in admissible evidence as to whether a settlement value was lower than the amount it would have cost to defend the patent infringement case. "In addition, if Geotab has admissible evidence that a past settlement value was lower than what it would have cost the defendant(s) to litigate the case, Geotab will not be precluded from referring to such a settlement as a 'nuisance value settlement.'"
But "[a]bsent this evidence, however, PerDiem will not refer to past settlements as 'nuisance' settlements.
As a result, the district court granted the motion in part to preclude the defendant from referring to the past settlement as "nuisance value."