Top Headlines: Supreme Court sides with Return Mail, Task force to study AI in AL

U.S. Supreme Court sides with Alabama company in patent dispute
The Supreme Court is siding with an Alabama company over the U.S. Postal Service in a patent dispute. The justices said Monday that the government can’t use a 2011 law to challenge a patent held by Birmingham-based Return Mail. The dispute involves a patent Return Mail got for a system that processes mail that gets returned as undeliverable. The Postal Service initially expressed interest in Return Mail’s invention but ultimately developed its own, similar system. – AP

Task force to study evolving AI technology in Alabama
Cows prefer to be milked by machines rather than humans. Facial recognition systems have a hard time recognizing dark-skinned people. Machines can be trained to identify cancerous cells on a slide under a microscope. Those are some of the insights that emerged when the state of Vermont set up a task force to study what could happen as governments and businesses begin putting artificial intelligence to use more often. Alabama is setting up a similar AI task force, created by a legislative resolution last month. – TNS

BBVA’s new brand easily seen in Birmingham skyline
Birmingham is among the first U.S. cities getting a look at BBVA’s new brand – stamped on the city’s skyline. As the new corporate logo debuted today over the Magic City, the same sign is being added to the cityscapes of Phoenix, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. In April, the financial services group, based in Spain with assets of more than $700 billion,, announced a unified brand that will show up at locations in months to come. – AL.com

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Governor signs chemical castration bill into law
Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday signed a bill into law that requires someone convicted of a sex offense against a child under the age of 13 to begin chemical castration a month before being released from custody. The law requires individuals convicted of such an offense to continue treatments until a court deems the treatment is no longer necessary. It says offenders must pay for the treatment, and they can’t be denied parole solely based on an inability to pay. – CNN

Huntsville has world’s largest commercial carbon dioxide capture plant
In a field on the outskirts of Huntsville giant fans perched on top of a shipping container pull the outside air into chambers that soak up carbon dioxide. Over a year, the equipment can capture 4,000 tons of CO2, as much as the pollution emitted by 870 cars. Run by a startup called Global Thermostat, the facility is currently the largest commercial “direct air capture” plant in the world. – Fast Company

Southern Company wins $200M in rural utilities settlement
Southern Company’s lawyers secured at least $200 million in profit for the company, largely on the backs of rural utility customers in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, thanks to a March 2019 settlement agreement with rural municipal and cooperative utilities.  The settlement stems from a complaint that the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority and Cooperative Energy filed in May 2018 about alleged overcharges with the Federal Electric Regulatory Commission. – EPI

Settlement approved in Toyota Sienna door class action
Connecticut Federal District Court Judge Victor Bolden has approved a roughly $34 to $40 million settlement between Toyota and class action plaintiffs who assert that safety issues with the rear power sliding doors of the car maker’s Sienna minivans place passengers at risk of injury or worse. Beasley Allen Principal attorney W. Daniel “Dee” Miles, III, head of the firm’s Consumer Fraud Section, served as co-lead counsel along with Adam Levitt of DiCello, Levitt & Gutzler of Chicago and Demet Basar of Wolf Haldenstein of New York. – News release

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