Re: [NoElectronicBallots] Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia sued for infringing on Avante's VVPAT and optical scan patents

From: <dr-jekyll_at_att_dot_net>
Date: Thu Jul 13 2006 - 13:47:11 CDT

What is a public statement in the context of patent law?

VVPAT under glass was suggested by Tom Benson in The Risks Digest, Volume 2, Issue 22, 5 Mar 1986. He suggested a "transparent screen". He suggested that the spoiled ballots be shredded and the approved ballots be given to the voter to be placed in ballot box. If Tom Benson's post to The Risks Forum is a public statement, that would cover the under glass part as well as the two different paths, the spoiled ballot path to the shredder and the approved ballot path to the voter.

Another set of statements that may have been public in the eyes of patent law was made in the summer of 1986. I spoke at a symposium on computers in the electoral process at Boston University on August 14th and 15th. The VVPAT method recommended was to display the ballot under a transparent screen to the voter who could approve or disapprove it. The ballots would be cut in order to preserve their anonymity. The ballots would be cut only when approved in order to connect the spoiled ballots to the approved ballots to detect trends and possible tampering. All ballots, approved or spoiled, would be dropped into a box and never be touched by the voter. This was to prevent stuffing the ballot box and to connect the ballots to the machine used in order to detect which machine might have been defective or tampered with. The same method was explained in a letter from me to Dr Robert J Boram, Chief Engineer of the R. F. Shoup Corporation suggesting it as a modification to the !
onic voting booth. The letter was sent to him in July of 1986 and a copy was sent to New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner. The minutes of the proceedings of the symposium weren't published until 2003, but NH SOS William Gardner and others still alive today were witnesses to the presentation at BU. Also, I believe the Secretary of State's Office in New Hampshire has a copy of the letter to the R. F. Shoup Corporation.

I documented the early days of the VVPAT movement recently. When I called Tom Benson about a year ago, he had forgotten about his suggestion in The Risks Forum. Also, others of us felt that we had made good suggestions, but we didn't realize they could have been patented.

BTW -- There were numerous posts about electronic voting in The Risks Forum that year starting with Issue 16 (25 Feb 86) and carrying on until Volume 3, Issue 59, 20 September 1986.

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-------------- Original message from "Douglas W. Jones" <>: -------------- 
> On Jul 12, 2006, at 11:15 PM, Jim March wrote: 
> > THIS is simply delicious. 
> I think it's stupid. The idea of equipping a voting machine to 
> record a paper record of each vote cast at the same time it records 
> those votes inside its mechanism was first patented over a century 
> ago. See patent number 620,767. Sure, it was a mechanical voting 
> machine with a VVPT, but it was a VVPT built in such a way that the 
> voting machine could be used without it, if the jurisdiction wanted 
> to, but that offered additional assurance if it was used with it. 
> That's exactly what Diebold and ES&S offer today. 
> The 620,767 patent lets the voter take the voter verified ballot 
> (printed with candidate names and punched to record each vote) to 
> the ballot box. That would seem to cover the VVPT without glass 
> model. 
> The Global AccuVote TS and the ES&S Votronic were fully functional, 
> without VVPT, as of the filing date of the Avante patent. Therefore, 
> it is unlikely that the infringements being claimed will involve 
> anything other than recent additions such as their crummy VVPT 
> systems. Rebecca Mercuri claims (although I've never seen the 
> documentation to back this up) to have publically described the 
> Mercuri method years before this. That covers VVPT under glass. 
> I think Avante's legal tactics are questionable. Their patent is 
> extraordinarily broad and hard to read, and their suit mentions 
> no specifics infringements. They've thrown the spaghetti at the 
> wall, and now they want to see what sticks. 
> Doug Jones 
> _______________________________________________ 
> OVC-discuss mailing list 

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Received on Mon Jul 31 23:17:04 2006

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