The dispute over the Superboy character basically began when the rights were granted to Jerry Siegel's wife and daughter. Warner Brothers wanted the rights, but were denied. If memory serves me right, this case basically meant that as of 2004, the Siegels were entitled to the Superboy name and no other entity could use it without their permission. There was actually some debate about whether or not "Smallville" violated those rights.
I think that pretty much sums it up. It is basically more legal mumbo-jumbo and a mess of red tape.