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[FYI] (Fwd) FC: Patent issued for using barcode tatoos to identify h

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:      	Sat, 13 May 2000 18:13:11 -0400
To:             	politech@vorlon.mit.edu
From:           	Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
Subject:        	FC: Patent issued for using barcode tatoos to identify humans
Send reply to:  	declan@well.com


Date: Sat, 13 May 2000 09:40:28 -0800
To: nobody@well.com
From: Jim Warren <jwarren@well.com>
Subject: 1999 patent issued for using barcode tatoos for human

Aside from the comparison of this patent to the numbers tatooed on
prisoners in Hitler's death-camps during World War II more than half a
century ago, and its comparison to the barcode scanning systems that
have been in use for decades to identify everything from cans of soup
to patient tags used in some hospitals and medical records -- one
wonders what kindergarden child working in the US Patent and Trademark
Office concluded that this was a non-obvious and novel "discovery"
worthy of a patent?!

The US PTO is obviously in need of some adult supervision!



United States Patent 	5,878,155
Heeter	Mar. 2, 1999
-- Method for verifying human identity during electronic sale
transactions Abstract A method is presented for facilitating sales
transactions by electronic media. A bar code or a design is tattooed
on an individual. Before the sales transaction can be consummated, the
tattoo is scanned with a scanner. Characteristics about the scanned
tattoo are compared to characteristics about other tattoos stored on a
computer database in order to verify the identity of the buyer. Once
verified, the seller may be authorized to debit the buyer's electronic
bank account in order to consummate the transaction. The seller's
electronic bank account may be similarly updated.


Here's an article from last year on Heeter's patent:

Some folks were upset:

So we know that a man named Thomas W. Heeter, who lives in or near
Houston, Texas last year received a patent on this barcode scheme.
What's interesting is that a man also named Thomas W. Heeter, who also
lives in or near Houston, recently ran for election as a family court


The Houston Chronicle
March 11, 1999
Ex-judge candidate sues Fox television

A former Democratic candidate for a Harris County state district judge
position has sued Fox television, two reporters and a lawyer regarding
broadcasts that questioned his competency to serve as judge.

Lawyer Thomas W. Heeter, who ran unopposed in the March 10, 1998,
Democratic primary for 312th state district judge, is representing
himself in the state district suit he filed Tuesday.

The suit said that broadcasts last year from March 5 to March 15
wrongly accused Heeter of "being subject to a mental health warrant,
being previously convicted for indecent exposure, offering a $ 50,000
bribe to Judge T.O. Stansbury, carrying a gun and threatening to cause
bodily injury (and) lying about his county of residence in order to
run for public office."

The Harris County Democratic party decided in May 1998 not to back
Heeter because of his "personal and professional challenges," said Sue
Schechter, county Democratic chairwoman, at the time. Heeter dropped
out of the race before the November 1998 election


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