Fwd: FC: Patent issued for using barcode tatoos to identify humans

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From: Rohit Khare (rohit@uci.edu)
Date: Sat May 13 2000 - 23:29:28 PDT


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 identification

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
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 judge.


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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