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I ran into an interesting guy with an interesting blog Monday evening after the “Physics for Future Presidents” talk I attended at UCSD. His name is Eric Lane, and he is an attorney at San Diego-based Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps. His Green Patent Blog focuses on intellectual property issues in clean technology.

I was glad to hear about the blog given that I am doing by best to keep up with the clean tech happenings in San Diego. You might want to check it out too if you have any interest in the issues facing this burgeoning industry.

One of Lane’s most interesting posts has to do with a false advertising case brought by a disgruntled Honda Civic hybrid owner that is working its way through the courts in San Diego. The plaintiff, Gaetano Paduano, sued Honda in San Diego County Superior Court in 2005 because his hybrid Civic was getting between 23 and 30 miles per gallon, far less than Honda advertised.

A Superior Court judge threw the case out in 2006. But last month the 4th District Court of Appeal said the case could go forward.

From the blog post:

Paduano brought state and federal warranty claims and California state false advertising and deceptive practices claims relating to statements in Honda’s Civic Hybrid brochures about driving habits and fuel efficiency.  The brochure tells drivers that they do not have to do “anything special” to get “terrific gas mileage” and instructs them to: “Just drive the Hybrid like you would a conventional car and save on fuel bills.”

But a Honda employee told Paduano that …

“you cannot drive in a normal manner in order to get the mileage” – the “normal manner” being accelerating and stopping with the flow of traffic and “accelerating as by law you’re supposed to [do] to get on the highway.” The record showed that one Honda employee had concluded that “you can’t do any of those [usual] things” if you want to “obtain better gas mileage.”

DAVID WASHBURN

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