In its war with Samsung, Apple scores legal victory in Europe

Apple has been granted a preliminary injunction by a German court, which will effectively prevent the sale of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in all countries belonging to the European Union, save the Netherlands. Samsung can still appeal the decision in a few weeks.

Rovi sues Hulu over program guide patents

Rovi is taking Hulu to court over program guide patents that the streaming site is allegedly infringing against. The suit was filed the same week that Fox announced it is putting up a pay wall around broadcast TV content that used to be free online.

Netflix sued for lack of captions on streaming videos

Netflix is being taken to court over not providing accessible videos for the hearing impaired. In a lawsuit, the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) accused Netflix of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by not providing captions for most of its streaming videos.

Today in Cleantech

California’s carbon cap-and-trade program has been put on hold — not by wealthy polluters or right-wing ideologues, but by a judge upholding a lawsuit saying the law doesn’t go far enough. In a decision well-forecast by a March ruling, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith on Friday enjoined the California Air Resources Board from moving forward with its carbon cap-and-trade system set to start in January 2012. Created by AB32, the law that seeks to return the state to its 1990 greenhouse gas emission levels by 2020, the cap-and-trade program would have been a landmark for the U.S. in setting terms and prices for carbon trading. But in holding up a lawsuit from environmental and advocacy groups, Goldsmith found the state hadn’t looked at all available alternatives, such as carbon taxes or outright bans on emissions, that could work better to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, those alternatives are politically unfeasible, making it unclear just how the plaintiffs in the case expect their argument to lead to a better outcome for the people they represent in low-income areas disproportionately affected by local sources of pollution. The state has said it will appeal the ruling, which doesn’t effect other aspects of AB32, such as the state’s renewable portfolio standard calling for one-third renewable energy by 2020, or its low-carbon fuel standard for in-state vehicles.

Today in Mobile

From the you-might-have-missed-this file: A new lawsuit claims AT&T is overcharging iPhone and iPad users as much as 300 percent for data usage. The lawyers bringing the complaint said they have spent $80,000 testing devices to prepare their case, and in one instance were billed for 35 data transactions on an iPhone after they had turned off every feature that could have affected usage. AT&T has said the claims are “without merit,” but it’s clear the plaintiffs here have done their homework. This is one to watch as it wends its way through the courts.

Today in Cleantech

Good news for smart meters — a Texas state judge has dismissed a class action lawsuit against Oncor accusing the utility’s new smart meters of overcharging customers, reports Smart Grid Today (subs. req’d.). District Court Judge Lorraine Raggio ruled that the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) was the proper venue for judging smart meters’ accuracy, or lack thereof — though, of course, the plaintiffs could appeal that decision. State PUC’s haven’t been the most friendly venues for utility smart meter plans lately (see Baltimore Gas & Electric), but Oncor does have an independent study verifying that the vast majority of its meters are working accurately to back it up. California utility Pacific Gas & Electric is facing a similar class-action lawsuit, and the California PUC has announced plans (pdf) to reveal a similar report on PG&E’s smart meter accuracy this Thursday. PG&E spokesman Kenny Boyles said Monday that a state judge has said he’d like to see the report before he makes further rulings on the PG&E customer lawsuit – stay tuned.

Today in Social

Besides Paul Allen’s patent suit against Facebook (and eight other big Internet players), there’s a class action brewing against the social networking powerhouse in California. It claims that Facebook is mis-using minors with its Like button. A California law says using kids’ names or pictures in advertising – e.g., when one “likes” an ad – requires parental consent, and TechCrunch wonders if that means Facebook would have to get approval for all its under-18 users.

Today in Cleantech

Utilities have found another reason to get customers on the same page when it comes to smart meter deployments. PG&E, whose smart meters are being met with less than open arms in Bakersfield, Calif., now has a class-action lawsuit to contend with. What was once a public relations disaster is now a matter for the courts, and a case that other utilities in the midst of meter upgrades should keep a close eye on.

Why the End of the RIAA Lawsuits Won’t Change Anything

rr-copyright-noticeThe Recording Industry Association of America has decided to end its five-year-long lawsuit campaign against music file sharers, the Wall Street Journal reported today, with the major record labels opting to instead work with ISPs to combat the practice. Some major ISPs have apparently already agreed to take part in a graduated response program: Share once, and you’ll get a slap on the wrist. Get caught the third time, and your contract gets canceled.

Mathew Ingram over at GigaOM thinks this is a bad idea because it privatizes copyright enforcement, meaning that alleged offenders won’t have any clear recourse when they’re wrongly accused. That’s true, and definitely something to be worried about, but it’s not exactly new. ISPs took on the role of copyright cops a long time ago; for some, the new agreement only formalizes policies that are already in place. And not much changes for the users, either. They can still get sued, despite the agreement. And yet, they will still continue to share music, and a whole lot of video as well.

Read More about Why the End of the RIAA Lawsuits Won’t Change Anything