Automated post office based rule analysis of e-mail messages and other data objects for controlled distribution in network environments

  • US 6,073,142 A
  • Filed: 06/23/1997
  • Issued: 06/06/2000
  • Est. Priority Date: 06/23/1997
  • Status: Expired due to Term
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First Claim
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1. A post office for receiving and redistributing e-mail messages on a computer network, the post office comprising:

  • a receipt mechanism that receives an e-mail message from a sender, the e-mail message having at least one specified recipient;

    a database of business rules, each business rule specifying an action for controlling the delivery of an e-mail message as a function of an attribute of the e-mail message;

    a rule engine coupled to receive an e-mail message from the receipt mechanism and coupled to the database to selectively apply the business rules to the e-mail message to determine from selected ones of the business rules a set of actions to be applied to the e-mail message; and

    a distribution mechanism coupled to receive the set of actions from the rule engine and apply at least one action thereof to the e-mail message to control delivery of the e-mail message and which in response to the rule engine applying an action of deferring delivery of the e-mail message, the distribution engine automatically combines the e-mail message with a new distribution list specifying at least one destination post office for receiving the e-mail message for review by an administrator associated with the destination post office, and a rule history specifying the business rules that were determined to be applicable to the e-mail message by at least one rule engine, and automatically delivers the e-mail message to a first destination post office on the distribution list instead of a specified recipient of the e-mail message.

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