Original Publication Date: 2002-Oct-19
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-21
Disclosed is a system that is designed to force print jobs via e-mail. The popularity of e-mail has no doubt made many of our lives easier. We have in some aspects made a step towards the notion of the paperless office. However, the paperless office isn't quite what some of us are looking for sometimes. Many times, it is important to have a tangible printout of an e-mail or e-mail attachment. Printing this e-mail/e-mail attachment is very tedious sometimes. One must actually go through the process of having to print an e-mail after it has been received. This isn't always efficient. Many times, the sender knows beforehand that the receiver will need to print the e-mail in question. The proposed system adds functionality to e-mail. We add to it the power to force printing. The sender can specify that e-mails he/she is sending should be printed based on: "Subject", "Incoming E-mail address", etc. There will need to be a "contract" between the sender and the receiver. Basically, a certificate that says the sender is allowed to force printing on the receiver's end. There can be safeguards put in by the receiver saying that the incoming message must come from a prespecified IP address to make sure that no one starts accessing their printer that is not allowed to. Additionally, the receiver can specify that they only want the first XX pages of the e-mail document printed to make sure that they do not print something too huge while they are away from their computer. By implementing this system, e-mail can be made more tangible and provide the benefits of a fax machine but through electronic mail.