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[EMAIL] System, method and process for sorting email based on sender estimate of time-to-reply and reputation of same Disclosure Number: IPCOM000199134D
Publication Date: 2010-Aug-26
Document File: 4 page(s) / 30K

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The Prior Art Database


Disclosed is a method for processing email which allows an email sender to provide an estimate of work required and the recipient to develop a database indicating both the accuracy of the sender's estimate and the historical relevance of the sender's messages to the recipient's assigned tasks or interests. The system also includes methods whereby the recipient provides their own time estimates and the email client tracks the actual time required, thereby assisting the user in managing routine email tasks.

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[EMAIL] System, method and process for sorting email based on sender estimate of time-to-reply and reputation of same

The routine processing of email often requires a level of effort or work-time that is incongruent with the amount of actual work that a user completes. A solution is needed that allows email users to more efficiently and effectively prioritize email and perform tasks in a manner that helps them better manage their workflow.

Current tools within email applications help identify and sort emails into categories including the Urgent, Normal, and Bulk classifications applied by the sender of the document and various filtering tools. Filtering tools base categorization on the sender's email address, the validity of the sender's address, the subject or body of the document, etc. Misuse of the Urgent flag for non-urgent messages and ongoing efforts by bulk email distributers render many of these tools ineffective. Existing problems include:

• Inappropriate prioritization of email by the sender

• Inability to accurately identify urgent emails by sender, subject matter, or message content based on historical behavior of sender

• Inability to establish the reputation of the sender, as to actual urgency or relevance of the email to the recipients assigned tasks

• Inability to sort "short, but not urgent" ahead of "long, but very urgent" using existing tools

To address this, a system, method and process is needed by which the recipient of an email is able to establish a reputation for the sender of an email. Based on an established reputation, the use of the Urgent, Normal and Bulk indicators can be accepted or rejected. Other indicators taken into consideration for email prioritization could be the sender's indication of estimated effort to respond. This would allow the email user to more accurately predict the amount of time required to respond to messages and the order in which messages should be handled.

In order to more effectively prioritize email as to urgency, work effort involved in responding to the email, or the validity of any sender-provided prioritization, email users need additional information which is not readily available in the email itself.

Current known solutions to the problem include:

• A process by which senders may create priorities at the time an email is sent. This does not address the issue of the sender's reputation, the accuracy of their requests, nor any historical trends. As with other systems, the referenced invention requires that the user manipulate any prioritization rules, filters, or other mechanisms. (1)


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The advantage of the disclosed invention is that it provides the ability to learn the behavior of both the sender (reliability of prioritizing messages) and the recipient (how much time is spent working on a specific message).

• A method and apparatus for processing email using an importance indicator such that a user can clearly identify which mail is important a...