Voting Machine Patent Timely Decided

Remember the 2000 election between Bush and Gore and how the controversy about the “hanging chad” and the Supreme Court decision “gave” the victory to Bush? Well, the voting machines are much improved now partly due to a patent for a better electronic voting machine that was a filed application in 2000, when the Bush v. Gore decision was being made, and on the day before the 2012 election, a major patent case decision came down.

The IP rights over this patent won’t stop the election as yesterday the Federal Circuit affirmed a Florida federal court’s ruling that two voting machine manufacturers involved in the case of Voter Verified v. Premier Election Solutions and Diebold didn’t infringe a Voter Verified Inc. patent covering a method of verifying ballot accuracy. A three-judge panel agreed with the lower court that voting machines sold by Premier Election Solutions Inc. and Election Systems & Software Inc. don’t infringe the patent. The decision, in effect, ends the four-year old litigation, as it means that ninety three of the asserted patent claims are invalid and the remaining claim is not infringed by the automated voting systems sold by Premier Election Solutions and Diebold. Voter Verified alleged infringement of all claims, 1–94.

The Voter Verified patent, which issued in 2008, discloses and claims automated systems and methods for voting in an election, featuring a self-verification procedure by which “machine and human error may be detected and corrected before the ballot is submitted by the voter for tabulation.” Briefly, the voter enters a vote into an electronic voting station, which temporarily records the voter’s input in digital storage and generates a corresponding printed ballot. That printed ballot is then checked for accuracy, either by presentation to the voter for visual inspection or by a computerized scanning mechanism capable of comparing the face of the printed ballot with the vote data represented in the station’s temporary storage. In either case, only ballots deemed consistent with the voter’s intended or recorded input are accepted for final tabulation.

Vote as you please, but PLEASE VOTE!

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