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Waterloo Furniture Components v. Haworth, Inc.

467 F.3d 641 (2006)

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Waterloo Furniture Components v. Haworth, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

467 F.3d 641 (2006)

Facts

Haworth, Inc. (defendant) granted Waterloo Furniture Components, Ltd. (Waterloo) (plaintiff) a license to use a patent owned by Haworth. The license expired in October 2003. Additionally, Haworth sued SoftView Computer Products Corporation (SoftView) for patent infringement. Haworth and SoftView engaged in settlement negotiations and later executed a settlement agreement. If the settlement agreement was executed before Waterloo’s license expired, Waterloo could potentially pay a lower rate for using Haworth’s patent. Waterloo wanted to see the settlement agreement, but Haworth said that the agreement was confidential. Subsequently, Waterloo brought suit against Haworth. At the district court, Haworth offered testimony from one of its employees, James Wiersma. Wiersma was involved in the settlement negotiations between Haworth and SoftView, such that he had personal knowledge of the negotiations. Wiersma testified that Haworth executed its settlement agreement with SoftView in March 2004, after Waterloo’s license expired. The district court determined that Haworth was not required to provide the original document containing the settlement agreement. Haworth filed a motion for summary judgment, and the district court granted the motion. Waterloo appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Flaum, C.J.)

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