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United States Patent [w]
US005999932A [ii] Patent Number:  Date of Patent:
 SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR FILTERING UNSOLICITED ELECTRONIC MAIL MESSAGES USING DATA MATCHING AND HEURISTIC PROCESSING
 Inventor: Sunil Paul, San Francisco, Calif.
 Assignee: Bright Light Technologies, Inc., San
A system for eliminating unsolicited electronic mail generates and stores a user inclusion list including identification data for identifying e-mail desired by the user. Data from one or more fields of incoming electronic mail messages are compared with the identification data stored in the user inclusion list. If the electronic mail message data matches corresponding identification data from the user inclusion list, the e-mail message is marked with a first display code, such as "OK." If no match is detected, the system performs at least one heuristic process to determine whether the electronic mail message may be of interest to the user. If the message satisfies one or more criteria as determined by the heuristic process and is therefore of potential interest to the user, the message is marked with a second display code, such as "NEW." If the e-mail message does not satisfy any of the heuristic criteria, the e-mail message may be marked with a third display code, such as "JUNK." The processed e-mail messages are displayed to the user in a display mode corresponding to the display codes respectively assigned to the messages.
31 Claims, 7 Drawing Sheets