The Failure and Future of E-Voting in America

By: Aaron Moshiashwili

1. Introduction

On September 28, 2007, Judge Winifred Smith of the Superior Court of Alamada County, California, took the extraordinary measure of invalidating an election result – an event that has only happened once before in California’s history.[1] Measure R, originally voted upon in November 2004, was ordered back onto next year’s ballot not because of electoral fraud or force majeure, but because 96% of the results from the election had vanished.[2] There was not any suggestion of dastardly doings; no ballots mysteriously vanished; no warehouses caught fire under unusual circumstances. These ballots had vanished because in a very real way they never existed in the first place. The election deciding Measure R’s fate took place entirely on computerized voting machines.

In the middle of litigation over the fate of the election, the machines were returned to the manufacturers, without the data having been backed up.[3] It … Read the rest

Securing IP Interests Means Securing a Future for Your Business

 
        Starting a new business can be a scary venture, especially for an inexperienced entrepreneur. [1] However, adhering to one little known business fundamental can help make the process run as smoothly as possible. [2] Specifically, securing one's intellectual property ("IP") interests from the start can secure a solid future for a new business by ensuring more funding from venture capitalists and investors. [3] IP traditionally includes patent, trademark, copyright and trade secrets, all of which can be protected with the right legal knowledge or competent attorney. [4] This article explains the four types of IP interests, their advantages and disadvantages and the benefits of securing them during the start-up stage of new businesses. 
 
          When venture capitalists consider funding a business, the deciding
factor in whether to invest often rests with the availability of IP
interests like trade secrets.[5] A trade secret is defined as, “a
process,
Read the rest

Effective Redress for E-Commerce: A Case of eBay

As the Internet becomes part of our daily lives, electronic commerce (e-commerce) has been developed into one of major ordinary transaction methods.  However, despite of its rapid growth and wide popularity, e-commerce is still risky in nature, due to its anonymity, accessibility, diversity, and popularity. [1]  E-commerce is a double-edged sword: its features may benefit the online transaction environment or, conversely, harm the sound online transaction environment.  Its advantages, such as convenience and anonymity, are frequently abused and may cause online fraud, damaging e-commerce.  The seventh annual fraud survey reported online fraud would harm e-commerce by causing a loss of $2.8 billion out of e-commerce profits in 2005. [2]  In order to promote the constant growth of e-commerce, one must look to practical solutions.  One of the recommended solutions for e-commerce is effective redress. [3]

II. Redress offered by eBay

Redress is usually referred as “both reactive and proactive methods … Read the rest

Verizon v. Vonage: If Verizon Wins, Do We All Lose?

     Many of us enjoy those cheeky, and admittedly strange, Vonage commercials.  A substantial number of us are also drawn to the very low price of Vonage services as evidenced by the fact that Vonage has approximately 2.2 million users.[1]  For only $24.99 per month one can get their local and long distance phone service through the internet,[2] but recent events indicate that this price maybe too good to be true.  When deals like this come along, one may wonder how the company in question was able to charge so little and yet still turn a profit.  The answer to that question may be that Vonage has infringed on patents held by Verizon, turning a profit on technology they do not legally own, according to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.[3]  While the trial has concluded and Verizon has won the first round, this

Read the rest

Sirius-XM “Merger of Equals” Faces Regulatory Challenge

SIRIUS Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio announced plans for a “tax-free, all-stock merger of equals” in which XM shareholders will receive 4.6 shares of SIRIUS common stock per 1 share of XM stock owned.[1]  The planned merger has raised eyebrows as to whether the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will approve the combination, particularly as under a current FCC rule SIRIUS and XM are prohibited from acquiring each other’s licenses.[2]  Based on this FCC rule, one has to wonder whether this is termed a “merger of equals,” despite what looks like an acquisition of XM by SIRIUS, to evade harsher FCC scrutiny.

I.  Terms of the Merger… of “Equals”?

Although termed a “merger of equals,” this transaction appears to fit the model of an acquisition of XM by SIRIUS.[3]  For one, XM shareholders will receive a certain amount of SIRIUS stock in exchange for their XM shares[4].  Second, XM shareholders

Read the rest

Virtual Bank, Real Scam?

    Second Life is a popular “virtual world” in which people across
the real world interact with each other using “avatars.” [1]  Avatars
are three-dimensional alter-egos that can be completely customized;
users can change their avatar’s clothing, height, weight, and even add
features like wings. [2]  Unlike other virtual worlds, which are
basically interactive computerized versions of fantasy role-playing
games, Second Life is not a game in the traditional sense. [3]  It does
not have goal or end; there are no monsters to fight, mysteries to
solve, or princesses to rescue. [4]  Rather, Second Life provides its
users with a toolkit with which they can create items within the
virtual world. [5]  Users can create pretty much anything they want:
buildings, vehicles, clothing, even games. [6]

 
  Much of the activity in Second Life centers on commerce with users
“buying” and “selling” “land” and each other’s creations. [7]  … Read the rest

The Online Movie Rental Battle

I. Introduction

Should
the concept of movie rentals via the internet be protected by a
patent?  Netflix, Inc. seems to think so.  That is what prompted them
to sue Blockbuster, Inc. for infringing their patents by starting up
Blockbuster Online.  But Blockbuster thinks Netflix has invalid patents
and that the monopolization of the online movie rental business would
not be fair.  These are the issues that recently came up in Netflix,
Inc. v. Blockbuster, Inc.  [1].

II. Analysis

Netflix is suing Blockbuster for infringing their patents by
starting Blockbuster Online which also allows consumers to rent movies
through the internet, similar to what Netflix offers.  [2].  Netflix has two patents that describe methods for renting items for ordering digital video discs (DVDs) via the internet.  [3].  Blockbuster feels there is nothing original about renting movies to customers through the internet.  [4]
To obtain a patent, the patentee

Read the rest

Is the Internet Replacing Real Estate Agents?

Before the Internet became popular, homebuyers had to spend days touring dozens of homes pre-selected by their real estate agent, and were often forced to settle on a home that was merely satisfactory.  Now individuals can shop online for homes, take virtual tours of homes, and even list their homes for sale online without ever stepping foot inside an agent's office.  The Internet provides what previously could only be provided by an agent:  a direct connection between buyers and sellers, thus eliminating the need for a middleman that charges a pricey commission.  In this age of technology though, some argue that the middleman can never be entirely replaced by the Internet.          

The Internet offers a variety of sources for people searching for homes for sale.  One type of site is the "real estate portal."  [1]  This type of site offers searchable listings, where buyers can choose their

Read the rest