WO2001067704A2 - Method and device for a reminder service - Google Patents

Method and device for a reminder service Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2001067704A2
WO2001067704A2 PCT/EP2001/002506 EP0102506W WO0167704A2 WO 2001067704 A2 WO2001067704 A2 WO 2001067704A2 EP 0102506 W EP0102506 W EP 0102506W WO 0167704 A2 WO0167704 A2 WO 0167704A2
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WO
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Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
reminder
message
agent
service module
party
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/EP2001/002506
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
WO2001067704A3 (en )
Inventor
Nikolaus Seemann
Original Assignee
Nikolaus Seemann
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q10/00Administration; Management
    • G06Q10/10Office automation, e.g. computer aided management of electronic mail or groupware; Time management, e.g. calendars, reminders, meetings or time accounting
    • G06Q10/109Time management, e.g. calendars, reminders, meetings, time accounting
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q10/00Administration; Management
    • G06Q10/10Office automation, e.g. computer aided management of electronic mail or groupware; Time management, e.g. calendars, reminders, meetings or time accounting
    • G06Q10/107Computer aided management of electronic mail
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L51/00Arrangements for user-to-user messaging in packet-switching networks, e.g. e-mail or instant messages
    • H04L51/08Messages including annexed information, e.g. attachments
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L51/00Arrangements for user-to-user messaging in packet-switching networks, e.g. e-mail or instant messages
    • H04L51/18Messages including commands or codes to be executed either at an intermediate node or at the recipient to perform message-related actions

Abstract

The invention pertains to a method of providing a reminder service wherein a message is compiled, a reminder service module is called up by which a reminder agent which is adapted to provide a reminder related to the message, is created, a reminder data set is input into the reminder agent, and the reminder agent is attached to the message, and the message having an associated reminder agent is sent to the message receiving party. A reminder data set containing reminder alarm time and content is created and will be included or attached to a message sent to the message receiving party. The reminder agent is to be loaded with a reminder data set containing the time and/or date for a reminder, and a reminder section provides a reminder related to the message to which it is associated, at the peer of the message receiving party.

Description

TITLE OF THE INVENTION

Method of Providing a Reminder Service, Reminder Service Module and Reminder Agent therefor

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to method of providing a reminder service, a reminder service module and a reminder agent for providing a reminder related to a message from a message sending party to the message receiving party. The reminder service can be delivered through communication channels like internet and wireless communication from a reminder service module to a reminder receiving party. The reminder can be attached to email messages.

In cases, where a sending party sends a message to a receiving party, and when the message contains some information on a period (or point) of time within (or at) which an action has to be taken, it is desired to send a reminder to the receiving party reminding the receiving party that some kind of action should be taken or just giving a reminder to the receiving party that the related message exists. For example, when a consultant sends a report to the client about some official action which has to be answered within a given period of time, it is desired that a reminder is sent to the client prior to the end of the term to remind the client that the consultant needs some information in order to deal with the official action. In another example, a supplier of goods may send a debit note to a customer, in which case the supplier is interested to send a reminder to the customer reminding him to pay the debit note. Also in the private domain, there are examples where a reminder is desired to be sent related to a particular message. For example, a boy might like to remind his girl of a date which has previously been set by some kind of a message. In all these cases, it is necessary for the sending party to take care of the reminder at the time when the reminder should be given, which means that the sending party must be present at a particular location and able to send messages, i. e. to be online at the time when the reminder is to be served. Furthermore, the sending party has to pick up some file (in the case of the consultant or the supplier) or some other source of information like a diary in case of the private date. After having collected the necessary information, the reminder has to be prepared and sent. This procedure requires, therefore, the attention of the sending party at least two times, first on sending the message and second on sending the reminder. Therefore, the procedure appears to be cumbersome. But even more important, the receiving party must be online and check its emails or must be connected through any other chosen communication channel to get the notice in time. In some instances, e.g. if the receiver is on vacation, or has changed his previously known contact address(e.g. email address or mobile phone number) that might not be the case.

In particular in view of the growing importance of email messages and the use of mobile phones, the above described procedure is not acceptable since these systems are designed and directed to make correspondence between parties as quickly and easily as possible.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In view of the above, it is an object of the invention, to provide a method for providing a reminder to a message receiving party, a reminder service module and a reminder agent for providing the reminder - which is related to a message from a message sending party - to a message receiving party, wherein the procedure is considerably simplified and made more easy to handle by both the message sending party and the message receiving party. For achieving the above object, the inventive method of providing a reminder to a message receiving party which reminder is related to a message from a message sending party to the message receiving party comprises compiling a message by the message sending party, calling up a reminder service module by the message sending party by which a reminder agent is created which is adapted to provide a reminder related to the message to which it is associated, a reminder data set is input into the reminder agent, and the reminder agent is associated with the message, and sending the message having an associated reminder agent to the message receiving party. This method has the great advantage at the side of the message sending party that the message sending party has to become active only once, i.e. when compiling and sending the message.

The reminder will be provided at the side of the message receiving party without further actions to be taken by the message sending party. On the side of the message receiving party, it is only necessary to accept the reminder and the reminder data set, and no further steps are necessary to get the reminder. The reminder is also given if the message receiving party is offline at the time of the reminder which is an important advantage of the invention. As opposed to the method of the invention, it would, for example, be necessary with prior methods to input some reminder data set into a scheduler at the peer of the message receiving party such that the scheduler program issues some reminder. As opposed to the method to send another message to remind the receiver, the receiver has amongst other advantages, e.g. that there is no need to be online again, the possibility to redefine the point in time when the reminder is given (i.e. the alarm time), according to his personal needs. A further advantage of sending messages with a reminder is the fact that such a message will find increased attention and will be distinctly different from other messages not offering such a reminder.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the reminder agent is associated with the message by attaching the reminder agent to the message as an attachment thereof. This has the advantage that the reminder agent (program) attached to the message is sent in one piece together with the message and the reminder data set.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the reminder agent is associated with the message by adding to the message a link to a database where the reminder agent associated to the message is to be found. According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, only the relevant specific information is sent (i.e. the reminder data set including the reminder time and content) and an already available reminder agent creates the reminder on the system, e.g. the computer or mobile phone, computer of the receiver on the bases of the relevant reminder data set. According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the reminder service module and/or the reminder agent is adapted to be called up or downloaded as a separate software product at the peer of the message sending party, from a mail client software product on the peer of the message sending party, or from the internet service provider (ISP) of the message sending party, or from a homepage of a party offering the reminder service module for use. All of these possibilities to call up the reminder service module are very easy to use by a message sending party because all these sources are readily available to the message sending party. Furthermore, the business of the parties offering the reminder service module for use is promoted in various ways. If the reminder service module and/or the reminder agent is included in a mail client software product like Microsoft Outlook or AOL, the presence of the reminder service module is a further argument for the consumer to buy such software. If a ISP offers the reminder service module and/or agent for use, this might be an argument to use this ISP for message and internet services. If the reminder service module is offered on a homepage of a party, for example an enteφrise selling goods, the attention of the message sending party is directed to the goods offered by the enteφrise every time the message sending party like to send a message with a reminder.

The reminder agent will save a received reminder data set or access its information at the reminder time specified in this reminder data set and generate at that reminder time a reminder for the message receiving party under certain conditions. This method has the advantage at the side of the message sending party that the message sending party has to become active only once, i.e. when compiling and sending the reminder data set and notifying the message receiving party to download or install the reminder agent. For the message receiving party the advantage to the first described method is, that it has to install the reminder agent only once, reduce download time and benefit from services offered by the installed reminder agent. According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, once the reminder agent is installed at the peer or system of the message receiving party, it is adapted to communicate with the reminder server of the message sending party and, to this end, it will send a signal to the corresponding reminder server whenever it is ready to receive messages. The reminder agent once installed at the system of the message receiving party can communicate with the reminder server of the message sending party and, to this end, it will send a signal to the corresponding server (s) whenever it is ready to receive messages (e.g. when the system carrying the reminder agent is online). If the message sending party wants to send a reminder message to the message receiving party, it puts that information to the reminder server (or has that one to get that information through an interface). The reminder server of the message sending party will then allow the agent of the specified message receiving party to download / receive the prepared reminder data set once it has learned that the agent has access to the information channel (e.g. the internet). If the agent of the message receiving party got a message (including reminder time and content) from the reminder server it will save that information and access it at the specified reminder time and generate a reminder immediately or at that time to remind the message receiving party as intended by the message sending party.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, a time and/or a date is input as reminder data set. The reminder data set to be input by the message sending party can be a time period, for example, 20 hours, five days, two weeks or so like, it can be a time and/or a date, for example April 1, 2000, 10:00 a.m., and additionally a preliminary date prior to the final date can be input, for example a preliminary date ten days prior to the final date. The message sending party is, therefore, free to choose the way and point in time when the reminder should be given to the message receiving party.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the reminder agent is programmed to synchronize the clock of the computer of the message receiving party with absolute time using available online synchronization services with "atomic clocks".

The reminder alarm time may also be an event not related to a particular point of time. The reminder data set may for example include an instruction to give the reminder every time the battery of a notebook computer gets to weak to support proper operation of the computer or every time the computer is connected to the internet for a certain period of time or every time a particular command or input information is typed into the computer or every time a particular information is found at a specific internet address.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the number of addresses to which a message with the reminder agent and/or the reminder data set is sent by the message sending party is registered at the reminder service module and is made available for accounting puφoses. This is an easy and accurate way in order to determine the frequency of use of the reminder service module and to calculate, on the basis of this information, any licensing fees or fees for usage. According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the reminder agent allows the automatic opening of incoming messages of specified senders and automatically recognize attached reminder data sets.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, additional files related to the reminder are included or attached to the reminder data set. Such additional files comprise preferably road maps, musical tunes, advertising material, announcement or a logo of the party offering the reminder service module for use, forms allowing payment of bills or a program performing a function previously programmed or the like. This gives a wide variety of possibilities to embody the reminder and present it to the message receiving party. If the reminder is for example related to a meeting, the road map or other map how to get to the meeting is helpful in many cases. In case of a private date, a musical tune might be preferable. If the reminder is related to birthday greetings, a "Happy Birthday" tune might be desired. In case the message is related to sales activities, the reminder is a very good occasion to serve new advertising material, announcement or so like to the customer. In case of professional messages, it may also be advantageous to attach a file containing the logo of the party offering the reminder service module or a link to it in order to create more attention for this enteφrise. Also, a program performing a function previously programmed may be sent together with the reminder data set. For example, a program confirming the creation of a reminder at the peer of the message receiving party or a program or a link to an online bank for allowing electronic payment of bills may be associated with the reminder data set. According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, once the reminder agent is installed at the peer or system of the message receiving party, it is adapted to identify reminder data sets sent to him as message attachments. The reminder agent once installed at the peer or system (computer, mobile phone) of the message receiving party can identify reminder data sets sent to him as message attachments. These reminder data sets are generated by the reminder service module using information (including reminder time and reminder content) from the message sending party.

For achieving the above object, in the inventive method of providing a reminder service to a message receiving party in which a reminder related to a message from a message sending party to be sent to the message receiving party, a message is compiled by the message sending party, a reminder data set is created by a reminder service module or a reminder agent and associated to the message, the message and the associated reminder data set file are sent to the message receiving party, and the reminder service module or a reminder agent is called up by the message receiving party which reminder service module generates the reminder at the peer of the message receiving party.

By this method, a message is compiled by the message sending party and a link to the reminder service module - which can be webbased or be available on the computer of the message sending party - is associated or attached to the message in order to allow the message receiving party to download and/or install a reminder agent from the reminder service module. On the side of the message receiving party, it is only necessary to install the reminder agent before receiving reminder messages the first time and accept the reminder data set, and no further steps are necessary to get the reminder. When the message with the attached reminder data set (containing the reminder alarm time and content) is received by the message receiving party, the reminder is generated by the reminder agent available on the receiver's side. The information where to download the reminder agent (i.e. the URL) must not necessarily be transmitted together with the message but could also be published otherwise (e.g. by print media).

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the reminder agent is distributed to the message receiving party by means of CD or diskette. The reminder agent can also be distributed to the message receiving party through other channels (e.g. a CD or a diskette). The installation of the reminder agent by the message receiving party has to be done only before it wants to receive a reminder for the first time - for future reminders the same reminder agent when still installed at the system of the message receiving party can generate reminders in the way described below. For achieving the above object, the inventive reminder service module for providing reminder to a message receiving party which reminder is related to a message from a message sending party to the message receiving party, wherein the module comprises a call up section by which the reminder service module is adapted to be called up in relation to a message to be sent, a reminder agent creating section by which the reminder service module is adapted to create a reminder agent which is adapted to provide a reminder related to the message to which it is associated, an input section by which the reminder service module it is adapted to receive an input as to the reminder data set and to generate the reminder data set, and an associating section by which the reminder service module is adapted to attach the reminder data set to the message. To have this associating section within the reminder service module has the advantage that the way how the reminder data set is associated to the message, can be adapted to this particular puφose, for example, the associating procedure can be automated to associate the reminder agent with a particular message.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the associating section of the reminder module is adapted to attach the reminder data set to the message as an attachment thereof.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the reminder service module is designed to attach the reminder agent to the message such that the reminder agent is destroyed on an attempt to detach the reminder agent from the message. According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the associating section of the reminder module is adapted to add to the message a link to a database where the reminder data set associated to the message is to be found.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the reminder service module is a part of a mail client software product, or accessible at the internet service provider of the message sending party or accessible at a homepage of a party offering the reminder service module for use. The reminder service module is advantageously designed such that it may be a separate self contained software product offered by internet service providers or included into a homepage or being integrated into a mail client software product. According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the reminder service module is designed not to allow changes in a final reminder data set avoid to destroy the reminder agent on an attempt to change the final reminder data set. This is another safeguard against misuse of the reminder agent. According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the reminder service module is designed to register the number of addresses to which a message with the reminder agent is sent by the message sending party, and to make this number available for accounting puφoses. By incoφorating the accounting possibility into the reminder service agent, it is possible in an advantageous way to be independent from accounting functions of other programs which improves the characteristic of the reminder service module to be self contained as far as possible.

For achieving the above object, the inventive reminder service module for providing a reminder service to a message receiving party which reminder is related to a message from a message sending party to the message receiving party, comprises a call up section by which the reminder service module is adapted to be called up in relation to a message to be sent, a reminder agent creating section by which a reminder agent is created which is adapted to provide a reminder related to the message, an input section by which the reminder service module it is adapted to receive as an input a reminder information and to create a reminder data set, and an associating section by which the reminder data set is associated to the message.

For achieving the above object, the inventive reminder agent to be associated to a message from a message sending party to a message receiving party is provided, wherein the reminder agent comprises a loading section by which the reminder agent is to be loaded with a reminder data set containing the time and/or date for a reminder, and a reminder section by which the reminder service agent provides a reminder related to the message, at the peer of the message receiving party. As the reminder agent contains, in its basic version, only two sections, it can be kept at a small volume and sent through message channels without heading to the bulk of the message.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the reminder agent is designed to put an indication to the message receiving party questioning whether the reminder agent is to be opened or not, and to destroy itself if it is not requested to open the reminder agent. This can be done when the message is received and opened or when the message is opened after it had been temporarily stored before processing. In other words, the option to use or not to use the reminder agent, is given to the message receiving party which means that the reminder service is not obligatory and does not get in conflict with the intentions or preferences of the receiving party. However, if the receiving party does not want to use to be reminded, the reminder agent is destroying itself so that it cannot be used for other puφoses, and does not occupy space on the hard disc of the computer of the message receiving party.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the reminder agent is designed to temporarily install itself when it is opened. The installation of the reminder agent is, thereby, linked to opening of the reminder agent such that no additional actions are required on the side of the message receiving party to make use of the reminder agent.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the reminder agent is designed to put an indication to the message receiving party questioning whether a new reminder data set should be input or not, and to allow a new reminder data set to be input if a new reminder data set is requested to be input. This has the advantage that the message receiving party can overwrite the reminder data set of the message sending party in order to adapt the timing of the reminder to the own requirements or preferences. Again, the reminder data set can include any or all of the following inputs: time of reminder, date of reminder, preliminary time limits and the like, as well as additional content, like a word file or sound files. According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the reminder agent is designed to put an indication to the message receiving party offering a countdown function and to allow the input of a countdown information if a countdown function is requested. The countdown function provides additional information to the user as to the time from the present point of time to the reminder time. For example, it can be indicated that it takes another 23 hours, a certain number of days or weeks until the final reminder time. The countdown information may be shown to the user as a watch ikon or the like so that the user can inform himself any time of the time schedule related to the reminder. Also, an input can be made of a countdown information for adapting the way of the countdown, for example duration and starting point, according to the preferences of the user. According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the reminder agent is designed to put an indication to the message receiving party questioning whether the reminder data set is to be input into a local scheduler program or not, and to allow the input of a reminder data set if a reminder data set input is requested. This feature provides a link to a local scheduler program that, for example Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Organizer, which might be present at the peer of the user or a synchronization program to allow the transport of the reminder information to a PDA (e.g. a Palmtop).

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the reminder data set can have additional files associated to it which will be activated by the reminder agent. According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the reminder agent is designed to destroy itself or the reminder data set after having effected the reminder, whereby the peer of the user is kept free of unnecessary bulk, and it is avoided to use the reminder in an undesired way.

According to an aspect of the invention, the method for providing a reminder service, a reminder agent can be designed such that it is adapted to deactivate a specific reminder or be deactivated itself by sending a message with deactivating control information from the message sending party to the message receiving party.

According to a preferred aspect of the invention, the method for providing a reminder service, the reminder service module or the reminder agent or the reminder data set can be designed such that it is identified by an identifying combination allotted to the reminder agent or the reminder data set by the message sending party and usable by the message sending party to identify the reminder agent or the reminder data set to be deactivated on the peer of the message receiving party.

According to a preferred aspect of the invention, the method for providing a reminder service, the reminder service module data set or the reminder agent can be designed to create a receipt message at the side of the message receiving party which receipt message is sent back to the message sending party, the receipt message containing information on the receipt of the message by the message receiving party.

According to a preferred aspect of the invention, the method for providing a reminder service, the reminder data set or the reminder agent can be designed to create the receipt message after creation of the reminder agent or the reminder data set, whereby the receipt message contains not only the receipt information but also an information on the acceptance/refusal of the reminder service by the message receiving party.

According to a preferred aspect of the invention, the method for providing a reminder service, the reminder service module or the reminder agent or the reminder data set can be designed such that the receipt message also contains an identification combination identifying the reminder agent or the reminder data set received.

According to an aspect of the invention, the method for providing a reminder service, the reminder service module or the reminder agent or the reminder data set can be designed such that a short version from the message and/or the reminder is extracted to be sent from the peer of the message receiving party and displayed on a mobile phone.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention the reminder agent can be designed to check at the reminder server of the message sending party some time before the alarm time if there is an update information posted in order to update the specific reminder content. Further preferred embodiments of the invention and the features thereof are given in the appended claims and sub-claims the wording of which claims is incoφorated in the present specification by reference.

A further understanding of the nature and advantages of the present invention may be realized by reference to the remaining portions of the specification, the drawings and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Figures 1A to 1C are flow charts for explaining how the invention is implemented in practice; Figure 2 is a schematic representation showing how the invention may by used in practice;

Figure 3 is a schematic representation showing the interaction between the user or the message sending party and the party providing the message reminder service; Figure 4 is a schematic representation showing the interaction between the message receiving party and the reminder service;

Figure 5 a flow chart of the function of the reminder agent;

Figure 6 is an illustration showing the use of the reminder service in a bill presentment system;

Figure 7 is a scheme where the site of the sender is used as a reminder portal;

Figure 8 a modified embodiment where the site of the sender is used as a reminder portal; and

Figure 9 shows a scheme for a licensing concept for the reminder service.

DESCRIPTION OF THE SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS

Figure 1A shows the case where the reminder service module is produced by a software provider. The software provider would provide this program to a party offering mail client software products, and the reminder service module is integrated into such a mail client software product, for example into Microsoft Outlook. The online access of the software product is then purchased by the message sending party and put on the peer of this party. Whenever the message sending party uses the mail client software product with the reminder service module in connection with sending a message, the message sending party prepares the message with the associated reminder agent and sends it through its ISP to the message receiving party. The message receiving party will notice (a) that a reminder agent is associated to the message and (b) that the reminder service is possible by means of a mail client software product offered by the party from which the message sending party had purchased the mail client software product. If the message receiving party finds the reminder service useful, it will contact the party offering the mail client software product and purchase the product also to use it for future messages.

Figure IB shows the case where a software provider provides the reminder service module to a party offering the reminder service module for use. Such a party may be an enteφrise offering goods or services, for example consumer products, accounting services, legal services and so like, or, in other words, a producer of consumer products or other products, a whole sale store, a department store, an accounting office or a legal office or so like. Such enteφrises would offer the reminder service module on their homepage for use. Whenever the message sending party like to use the reminder service module, it would access the homepage of the party offering the reminder service module, prepare the message with the reminder agent and send the message to the message receiving party. The message receiving party again would visit the homepage of the party offering the reminder service module for use in future cases if he likes the idea and would like to prepare a message with a reminder.

Figure 1C shows the case where the party offering the reminder service module for use is the ISP of the message sending party in the beginning and probably the message receiving party in the future. The software provider would provide the reminder service module to ISP, and the message sending party would use this service of the ISP to prepare messages with reminders. The message would then be sent from the message sending party via the ISP to the message receiving party which again would probably use the ISP himself for the future or just the reminder service module offered by the ISP for use. All these schemes have the common advantages that the messages of the message sending party will enjoy increased attention, the enteφrises will enjoy promotion of their business and the message receiving party will be provided with a possibility to have the reminder service with minimum efforts and costs. The high attention of the messages with the reminder agent and, possibly, further associated files will come about by the reminder itself and in particular by the further associated files. The advantages for the commercial enteφrises are specifically that repeated communication to clients, customers or prospective clients and customers is created, that new clients are acquired, as mentioned with respect to Figures 1A to 1C, and the reminder service can be used to acquire registration data in exchange of using the system instead of paying for the use, and also marketing information can be derived from the customers/clients. At the side of the message receiving party, it will receive a reminder without doing much for it, it has additional functions like countdown, the reminder service itself creates the possibility to access it in the future and the reminder agent may destroy itself after the reminder such that the peer is not clogged.

The above advantages are also apparent from the schematic representation of Figure 2 which shows the use of the invention as a marketing tool or as an additional message function. In case of the use as a marketing tool, the user finds the reminder service on the homepage of a client enteφrise software provider. The user sends the message with the associated reminder agent to a receiving party. At a preselected point of time, the receiving party will be "reminded". This can be done by a simple message or by associated files, like birth day greeting card, road map, photos, musical tunes etc. In the case of the use as an additional message function, the user finds the reminder service as an optional, additional function at his message service provider. Upon activation of this function, the reminder agent (plus further optional files) will be associated to the message, and the reminder will install itself, if accepted, as a temporary file at the peer of the receiving party. After having given the reminder, the reminder agent may destroy itself if not instructed otherwise.

For the pmpose of this description, the term "associated" in connection with the relationship between the message and the reminder agent and in connection with the relationship between the reminder agent and the further files related thereto means that a relationship has been build up between the message and the reminder agent or between the reminder agent and the further related files by attaching the reminder agent to the message or by attaching the further files to the reminder agent or, alternatively, by providing a link between the message and the reminder agent or between the reminder agent and the further related files. In the first case, the message would be mailed with the attached reminder agent, and the further files would be included or attached to the reminder agent. In the second case, the reminder agent and the further files would be located at one database or several databases and call up by means of the links when desired. Of cause, it is also possible to attach the reminder agent to the message and to link the reminder agent to the further files or the link the reminder agent to the message and to attach the further files to the reminder agent. The link may comprise an address in the message or in the reminder agent which address, when activated, connects the reminder agent to the message or the reminder agent with the further file or files. The link may also comprise any other means of connecting the message to the reminder agent or the reminder agent to the further files as long as a well defined relationship is maintained between the message and the reminder agent or the reminder agent and the further files. If the message is associated to the reminder agent by attaching the reminder agent to the message as an attachment thereof, the reminder agent (program) attached to the message is sent in one piece together with the message. In this case, the reminder agent may be attached to the message such that the reminder agent is destroyed on an attempt to detach the reminder agent from the message. If the reminder agent is associated with the message by adding to the message a link to a database where the reminder agent associated to the message is to be found, the reminder agent can be retrieved through the link if the receiving party desires to have the reminder agent. The link to a database may lead to the reminder agent associated to the message. The database may be a web-page or homepage. The reminder service module may be designed to associate additional files related to the reminder to the reminder agent. Such additional files related to the reminder may be attached or linked, as described above, to the reminder agent. The link may comprise an address in the reminder agent which address, when activated, connects the reminder agent to the further file or files. In this case, it is also possible to connect a particular reminder agent to a series of messages related to the same subject. If a message is sent out to a group of receivers, the receivers may access one and the same reminder agent at a particular address.

Figure 3 shows steps on the side of the message sending party in order to compile a message with a reminder. According to this representation, the user enters the homepage of a client enteφrise being a client of the software provider of the reminder service module. The user selects the reminder service via an appropriate button on the homepage or through a voice command. The user writes the message and selects the reminder data set, in particular the time of the reminder. After having input the required data, the message is ready for being mailed. Although a particular sequence of steps is shown in Figure 3, such sequence is not binding. For example, the user may write the message first and then enter the homepage of a client enteφrise in order to use the reminder service offered on this homepage. In any case, however, a close relationship between the message and the reminder agent providing the reminder service should be kept as stated above.

It is also very easy for the user to insert a text into the reminder. There can be various sample texts stored in the peer of the sender which texts are used in the reminder agent as messages for the receiving party. An example for the text of the reminder in case of a general matter is as follows:

"We refer to our message of: < date > concerning: < subject >. Please answer our message by return.

Very truly yours, < name of sender >"

Another example for the text of the reminder in case of debiting is as follows:

"Please pay our debit note which has been sent to you on: < date > within the due date of

<reminder date > in order to avoid extra charges. Very truly yours, < name of sender >"

Another example for the text of the reminder in the private domain is as follows:

"Happy birthday to you.

We all love you! "

(Associated musical tune will be played)

Only the reminder data set would be input by the sender. The further information to be filled in into the text of the reminder, like the date of the message, can be taken from the message where this information is readily available so that not individual inputs are necessary.

Figure 4 shows a schematic representation of the actions on the side of the message receiving party. The message receiving party receives and opens the message when doing so, the receiving party is pointed to the associated reminder agent and has the option to be connected to the reminder service which increases the probability that the receiving party will use the reminder service for future cases. The receiving party may accept or refuse the reminder agent. If the reminder agent is accepted, it will temporarily install itself at the peer of the message receiving party, and the functions of the reminder agent as described below, will be available to the message receiving party. The receiving party will receive the reminder at a selected time, and any files which are associated to the reminder agent, are opened at that time. After use, the reminder agent may destroy itself or at a given time after its use for example 24 hours thereafter. Figure 5 is a schematically representation of what happens in the reminder agent or between the reminder agent and the user. At step 10, the message with the reminder agent is received by the message receiving party or user. The user opens the message in step 12 thereupon he is asked whether he would like to open the reminder agent or not in step 14. In case the user refuses to open the reminder agent, the reminder agent will destroy itself at step 16. If the reminder agent is opened, the user is asked whether he would like to input new reminder data set at step 18 which he can do at step 20 by inputting new reminder data set. If no new input reminder data set is requested, the process proceeds to ask, at step 22, whether a countdown function is desired. If countdown function is desired, the user may input some information related to the countdown procedure at step 24, for example as do when the countdown should start, how it should be displayed and what actions are to be related to the countdown function. If no countdown is desired, the process proceeds to ask the user at step 26 whether he would like to input a note related to the reminder data set into his own scheduler. If yes, the reminder data set is input into the scheduler at step 28, and the process proceeds to the next step 30 where the reminder agent destroys itself after use. If no, an input note is required into the scheduler, the process proceeds from step 26 to step 30. Also a particular sequence has been shown in Figure 5, this sequence is variable in various respects. In particular, the steps 18, 22, 26 and the related steps may be interchanged with each other in the sequence. For example, steps 26 and 28 may be carried out before steps 18, 20.

Furthermore, the scheme of Figure 5 is in part also true for the handling of the reminder agents at the side of the message sending party in respect to steps 18 to 24. Of course, associating the additional files to the reminder agent at the side of the message sending party and opening of the additional files of the reminder agent at the side of the message receiving party is also made possible while it is not shown in the Figures. The reminder service module may be designed to attach the additional files related to the reminder to the reminder agent or to link the additional files related to the reminder to the reminder agent. The additional files may be located on any one database or several databases, web-pages or the like.

In some cases, it might be desirable to deactivate the reminder, i.e. if the reason for the reminder is not existing anymore. One example for such a situation is given if the reminder has the puφose to remind the receiving party that a bill has not been paid and, on the other hand, the bill has been paid in the meantime. In such a case, it would be desirable that the message sender can deactivate the reminder agent at the side of the message receiving party. To do this, the sender would send another message to which a deactivating agent is associated which has the sole puφose to find the reminder agent concerned and to deactivate it. Also in this case, the receiving party can of course decide whether or not they would like to accept the deactivating agent or not. If the receiving party accepts the deactivating agent, the deactivating agent would find the respective reminder agent and deactivate it. By giving a specific identification sequence, number or code to the reminder agent, also single reminder agents out of a plurality of reminder agents can be located. The identification sequence can be produced at the side of the message sending party and stored for a possible later use for a deactivating agent, or the identification sequence can be produced at the side of the message receiving party and sent back to the message sending party.

A further functionality, which would be desirable, is to send a receipt message from the message receiving party to the message sending party. Such a receipt message could contain information as to the receipt of the message by the message receiving party, the fact whether or not the message receiving party has accepted the reminder service, and also the message identification sequence allowing it to the message sending party to deactivate the reminder if it is deemed not be necessary anymore.

Within a debiting system, the reminder could contain, for example, a payment form containing all specific data which are necessary to make a payment, and the possibility could be provided to effect the payment through electronic communication by clicking to a corresponding button. For effecting the payment, a corresponding program may be sent as an attachment to the message or, alternatively, the payment program may be located on the peer of the message receiving party, and an even smaller program is sent to the hand phone of the message receiving party which program is adapted to start the payment program on the peer of the message receiving party.

For providing this functionality, the method for providing the reminder service, the reminder service module or the reminder agent can be designed to create the reminder agent such that it is adapted to be deactivated by sending a message with the deactivating agent from the message sending party to the message receiving party. Therein, the method for providing a reminder service, the reminder service module or the reminder agent can be designed to create the reminder agent such that it is identified by an identifying combination allotted to the reminder agent by the message sending party and usable by the message sending party to identify the reminder agent to be deactivated on the peer of the message receiving party.

Furthermore, a receipt message can be created at the side of the message receiving party which receipt message is sent back to the message sending party, the receipt message containing information on the receipt of the message by the message receiving party. When the receipt message is created after creation of the reminder agent, the receipt message can contain not only the receipt information but also an information on the acceptance/refusal of the reminder service by the message receiving part as well as an identification combination identifying the reminder agent received.

Figure 6 shows in more detail the usage of the reminder service in connection with a billing system. In the course of time, the following events follow each other. First, the company delivers its product/services to a client. Thereafter, the company sends a message with a bill with an associated reminder to the customer, and the customer will notice the reminder as discussed in connection with Figure 2, and he will most probably accept the reminder. If the customer accepts the reminder services, the reminder agent will automatically be installed. Shortly before the deadline for payment, the reminder appears on the screen of the customer and may ask him if he has already paid the debit note. Together with the reminder, optionally also electronic payment possibilities are offered to the customer to facilitate the payment for him. After expiration of the deadline for payment, the reminder could delete itself. Alternatively, the reminder could show another reminder text to the customer indicating that the normal deadline for payment has expired and that legal steps are going to be taken to receive payment. Figure 7 shows a concept where the message sender can optionally enable the message receiver to use the web site of the message sender as a "reminder portal". Such a system would apparently increase the traffic on the homepage of the message sender. In such a scheme, the traffic would start with the sender (1) sending a message and/or bill to the receiver (1). As the reminder has a link to the server (homepage, service module) of the sender, the receiver (1) can also become a sender (2) to send a message to a receiver (2). The receiver (2) can again become a sender (n) sending a message through the homepage of the sender (1) to another receiver (n+1). As the receivers always use the server of the first sender, the traffic on this service is enhanced.

Figure 8 shows another scheme in which the message sender can optionally enable message receivers to use the side of the original message sender as a "reminder portal" to increase the traffic on the homepage of the message sending party by a multiplication effect. The company sends out letters and/or bills to customers, and the customers use the message service through the reminder portal of the company to send out also letters or other messages to people who are (not yet) customers of the company, and such persons or organizations again can use the reminder portal of the original company to send out letters or messages with attached reminders. Such a reminder in such a scheme carries as an attachment the logo of the original company, a marketing message if wanted and a link to the reminder portal (= homepage of the company), the company can, through the reminder portal, not only generate repeated traffic but also reach new, potential customers. It is apparent from Figure 8 that a kind of snowball effect is created to the advantage of the "company".

Figure 9 shows the licensing concept which would primarily be based on a variable basis. A provider for accounting and bill presentment services would give a license to a company to use this software and create bills thereby. Simultaneously, the provider would offer the reminder service module to the customer so that the customer would be in a position to attach a reminder to the bills which are sent out. As the reminders are created at a location which can be accessed by the provider, the reminders generated by the customer can be counted at this location, and the information would be communicated to the provider and the company and can, there, form a basis for calculating licensing fees. This scheme shows that the reminder service is a well adapted tool for electronic billing systems. In the above description of the embodiments, the "peer of the message receiver" is used in the sense that this can be a computer and the location of the message receiver, or a mobile phone capable of receiving messages (SMS system). It is even conceivable that the message would be received by a computer at the location of the message receiver, and the computer would forward the message and the attached reminder to the mobile phone of the message receiver. In such a case, it would be desirable to reduce the amount of information to be displayed and/or processed by the message receiver in view of the restricted display area of, for example, WAP mobile phones. Therefore, the reminder service module or the reminder agent are configured such that they would extract a short version from the message message and/or the reminder to be displayed on the display of the mobile phone. The message could simply read, for example, "debit note on US$ 100 of company X not paid", and the reminder could offer a button "effect payment". If this button is selected, the payment would be carried out on the basis of the data received from the message sender about his bank account and the information on the customer's bank account which were input into the computer of the customer when receiving the bill and installing the reminder service. Alternatively, also a payment order could have been already established at the computer of the customer, and the message would only trigger execution of this transaction by a (small) program as mentioned above.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the reminder agent is programmed to synchronize the clock of the computer of the message receiving party with absolute time using available online synchronization services with "atomic clocks" to make sure that the reminder is given exactly a the time input by the message sending party.

In another preferred embodiment of the invention the reminder agent can be designed to check at the reminder server of the message sending party some time before the alarm time if there is an update information posted in order to update the specific reminder content. The reminder service has a wide range of applications in practice. Except the applications which have already been mentioned above, the reminder service can also be used for example by whole sale stores to inform customers about special sales or other special events. In such a case, the customers would get a message pointing to the sales and the reminder service would again call the attention of the customers to the sales at a date immediately before the sales. The reminder service can also be used by enteφrises offering TV programs or information about TV programs, tickets and information on sports, theatre, concert and similar events. In such a case, messages with an associated reminder agent would be sent to customers or users informing than about particular events, and a reminder would be given to the customers immediately prior to the event in order to improve attention of the customers to this event. The reminder service can also be used to schedule meetings, seminars and congresses by sending messages to the participants and reminding the participants of the event before hand. In this context, another advantage of the invention becomes apparent, i.e. that a big number of participants or users can be reached with the reminder agent because the reminder agent is independent from the fact that the message receiving party has a scheduler program on its peer. As compared thereto, in the state of art, information as to time limits and reminders could only be exchanged between compatible scheduler programs. In other words, the reminder service provides the reminder function even to parties which do not have a scheduler program on their computer.

It is to be understood that the above description is intended to be illustrative and not restrictive. Many embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art upon reviewing the above description. Those skilled in the art will recognize equivalent or alternative methods of providing a reminder to a message receiving party, a reminder service module and a reminder agent therefor. The scope of the invention should, therefore, be determined not as reference to the above description, but should instead be determined with reference to the appended claims along with the full scope of equivalence to which such claims are entitled.

Claims

What is claimed is:
1. Method of providing a reminder service to a message receiving party in which a reminder related to a message from a message sending party is sent to the message receiving party wherein a) a message is compiled by the message sending party, b) a reminder service module is called up by the message sending party by which bl) a reminder agent which is adapted to provide a reminder related to the message to which it is associated, is created, b2) a reminder data set is input into the reminder agent, and b3) the reminder agent is associated with the message, and c) the message having an associated reminder agent is sent to the message receiving party.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the reminder agent is associated with the message by attaching the reminder agent to the message as an attachment thereof.
3. The method of claim 2, wherein the reminder agent is included or attached to the message such that the reminder agent is destroyed on an attempt to detach the reminder agent from the message.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein the reminder agent is associated with the message by adding to the message a link to a database where the reminder agent associated to the message is to be found.
5. The method of claim 4, wherein the link to a database, when actuated, leads to a unique address of the reminder agent associated to the message containing the link.
6. The method of claim 5, wherein the database is a web-page.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein the reminder service module and/or the reminder agent is adapted to be called up or downloaded, respectively, a) as a separate software product at the peer of the message sending party, or b) from a mail client software product on the peer of the message sending party, or c) from the internet service provider (ISP) of the message sending party, or d) from a homepage of a party offering the reminder service module for use.
8. The method of claim 1, wherein the reminder agent is distributed to the message receiving party by means of CD or diskette.
9. The method of claim 1, wherein a time and/or a date is input as reminder data set.
10. The method of claim 1, wherein one or several additional file(s) related to the reminder is/are associated to the reminder agent.
11. The method of claim 10, wherein additional files related to the reminder are associated to the reminder agent by attaching the additional files to the reminder agent.
12. The method of claim 11, wherein additional files related to the reminder are associated to the reminder agent by linking the additional files to the reminder agent.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein the additional files comprise road maps, musical tunes, advertising material, announcements or a logo of the party offering the reminder service module for use or forms allowing payment of bills or a program performing a function previously programmed.
14. The method of claim 1, wherein the number of addresses to which a message with the reminder agent is sent by the message sending party is registered at the reminder service module and is made available for accounting puφoses.
15. The method of claim 1, wherein the reminder is also offered to the message sending party itself.
16. The method of claim 1, wherein the reminder agent is adapted to be deactivated by sending a message with the deactivating agent from the message sending party to the message receiving party.
17. The method of claim 1 , wherein, once the reminder agent is installed at the peer or system of the message receiving party, it is adapted to communicate with the reminder service module of the message sending party and, to this end, it will send a signal to the corresponding reminder service module whenever it is ready to receive messages.
18. The method of claim 1, wherein, once the reminder agent is installed at the peer or system of the message receiving party, it is adapted to identify reminder data sets sent to him as message attachments.
19. The method of claim 1, wherein the reminder agent is adapted to save a received reminder data set and generate at that reminder time a reminder for the message receiving party.
20. The method of claim 1, wherein the reminder agent is adapted to access an information of the reminder data set at the reminder time specified in this reminder data set.
21. The method of claim 1, wherein the reminder agent allows the automatic opening of incoming messages of specified senders and automatically recognize included or attached reminder data sets.
22. The method of any of the preceding claims, wherein each reminder agent is identified by an identifying combination allotted to the reminder agent by the message sending party and usable by the message sending party to identify the reminder agent to be deactivated on the peer of the message receiving party.
23. The method of claim 1, wherein a receipt message is created at the side of the message receiving party and sent back to the message sending party, the receipt message containing information on the receipt of the message by the message receiving party.
24. The method of claim 23, wherein the receipt message is created after creation of the reminder agent, whereby the receipt message contains not only the receipt information but also an information on the acceptance/refusal or the successful installation of a reminder by the message receiving party.
25. The method of claim 24, wherein the receipt message also contains an identification combination identifying the reminder agent received.
26. The method of claim 1, wherein a short version from the message and/or the reminder is extracted to be sent from the peer of the message receiving party and displayed on a mobile phone.
27. The method of any of the preceding claims, wherein the reminder agent is programmed to synchronize the clock of the computer of the message receiving party with absolute time using available online synchronization services with "atomic clocks".
28. The method of any of the preceding claims, wherein the reminder agent is adapted to check at the reminder server of the message sending party some time before the alarm time if there is an update information posted in order to update the specific reminder content.
29. Method of providing a reminder service to a message receiving party in which a reminder related to a message from a message sending party to be sent to the message receiving party wherein a) a message is compiled by the message sending party, b) a reminder data set is created by a reminder service module or a reminder agent and associated the message, c) the message and the associated reminder data set file are sent to the message receiving party, and d) the reminder service module or a reminder agent is called up by the message receiving party which reminder service module generates the reminder at the peer of the message receiving party.
30. The method of claim 29, wherein the reminder data set file is associated with the message by attaching the reminder data set file to the message as an attachment thereof.
31. The method of claim 29, wherein the reminder data set file is associated with the message by adding to the message a link to a database where the reminder data set file associated to the message is to be found.
32. The method of claim 31 , wherein the database is a web-page.
33. The method of claim 29, wherein the reminder service module or a reminder agent is adapted to be called up or downloaded, respectively, a) as a separate software product at the peer of the message sending party, or b) from a mail client software product on the peer of the message sending party, or e) from the internet service provider (ISP) of the message sending party, or f) from a homepage of a party offering the reminder service module for use, or g) at the peer of the message receiving party.
34. The method of claim 29, wherein the reminder agent is distributed to the message receiving party by means of CD or diskette.
35. The method of claim 29, wherein at least a time and/or a date is input as reminder data set.
36. The method of claim 29, wherein additional files related to the reminder are associated to the reminder data set.
37. The method of claim 36, wherein additional files related to the reminder are associated to the reminder data set by attaching the additional files to the reminder data set.
38. The method of claim 36, wherein the additional files related to the reminder are associated to the reminder data set by linking the additional files to the reminder agent.
39. The method any of the claims 36 to 38, wherein the additional files comprise road maps, musical tunes advertising material, announcements or a logo of the party offering the reminder service module for use or forms allowing payment of bills or a program performing a function previously programmed.
40. The method of claim 29, wherein the number of messages which are received and create a reminder, is registered at the reminder service module and is made available for accounting puφoses.
41. The method of claim 29, wherein the reminder is also offered to the message sending party itself.
42. The method of claim 29, wherein the reminder agent is adapted to be deactivated by sending a message with the deactivating agent from the message sending party to the message receiving party.
43. The method of claim 29, wherein, once the reminder agent is installed at the peer or system of the message receiving party, it is adapted to communicate with the reminder service module of the message sending party and, to this end, it will send a signal to the corresponding reminder service module whenever it is ready to receive messages.
44. The method of claim 29, wherein, once the reminder agent is installed at the peer or system of the message receiving party, it is adapted to identify reminder data sets sent to him as message attachments.
45. The method of claim 29, wherein the reminder agent allows the automatic opening of incoming messages of specified senders and automatically recognize included or attached reminder data sets.
46. The method of claim 29, wherein each reminder agent is identified by an identifying combination allotted to the reminder agent by the message sending party and usable by the message sending party to identify the reminder agent to be deactivated on the peer of the message receiving party.
47. The method of claim 29, wherein a receipt message is created at the side of the message receiving party and sent back to the message sending party, the receipt message containing information on the receipt of the message by the message receiving party.
48. The method of claim 47, wherein the receipt message is created after creation of the reminder agent, whereby the receipt message contains not only the receipt information but also an information on the acceptance/refusal or the successful installation of a reminder by the message receiving party.
49. The method of claim 47, wherein the receipt message also contains an identification combination identifying the reminder agent received.
50. The method of claim 29, wherein a short version from the message and/or the reminder is extracted to be sent from the peer of the message receiving party and displayed on a mobile phone.
51. The method of any of the claims 29 to 50, wherein the reminder agent is programmed to synchronize the clock of the computer of the message receiving party with absolute time using available online synchronization services with "atomic clocks".
52. The method of any of the claims 29 to 51, wherein the reminder agent is adapted to check at the reminder server of the message sending party some time before the alarm time if there is an update information posted in order to update the specific reminder content.
53. Reminder service module for providing a reminder service to a message receiving party which reminder is related to a message from a message sending party to the message receiving party, wherein the module comprises a call up section by which the reminder service module is adapted to be called up in relation to a message to be sent a reminder agent creating section by which the reminder service module is adapted to create a reminder agent which is adapted to provide a reminder related to the message to which it is associated, an input section by which the reminder service module it is adapted to receive an input as to the reminder data set and to insert the reminder data set into the reminder agent, and an associating section by which the reminder service module it is adapted to associate the reminder agent to the message.
54. The reminder service module of claim 53, wherein the associating section of the reminder agent is adapted to attach the reminder agent to the message as an attachment thereof.
55. The reminder service module of claim 53, wherein the reminder service module is designed to attach the reminder agent to the message such that the reminder agent is destroyed on an attempt to detach the reminder agent from the message.
56. The reminder service module of claim 53, wherein the associating section of the reminder agent is adapted to add to the message a link to a database where the reminder agent associated to the message is to be found.
57. The reminder service module of claim 56, wherein the database is a web-page.
58. The reminder service module of claim 53, wherein the reminder service module or a reminder agent is adapted to be called up or downloaded, respectively, a) as a separate software product at the peer of the message sending party, or b) from a mail client software product on the peer of the message sending party, or h) from the internet service provider (ISP) of the message sending party, or i) from a homepage of a party offering the reminder service module for use, or j) at the peer of the message receiving party.
59. The reminder service module of claim 53, wherein the reminder agent is distributed to the message receiving party by means of CD or diskette.
60. The reminder service module of claim 53, wherein the reminder service module is designed not to allow changes in a final reminder data set and to destroy the reminder agent on an attempt to change the final reminder data set.
61. The reminder service module of claim 53, wherein the reminder service module is designed to associate additional files related to the reminder to the reminder agent.
62. The reminder service module of claim 53, wherein the reminder service module is designed to attach additional files related to the reminder to the reminder agent.
63. The reminder service module of claim 53, wherein the reminder service module is designed to link additional files related to the reminder to the reminder agent.
64. The reminder service module of claim 63, wherein the additional files comprise road maps, musical tunes advertising material, announcements or a logo of the party offering the reminder service module for use or forms allowing payment of bills or a program performing a function previously programmed.
65. The reminder service module of claim 53, wherein the reminder service module is designed to register the number of calls by which the reminder service module is called up by the message sending party, and to make this number available for accounting puφoses.
66. The reminder service module of claim 53, wherein the reminder service module is designed to create the reminder agent such that it is adapted to be deactivated by sending a message with the deactivating agent from the message sending party to the message receiving party.
67. The reminder service module of claim 53, wherein, once the reminder agent is installed at the peer or system of the message receiving party, it is adapted to communicate with the reminder service module of the message sending party and, to this end, it will send a signal to the corresponding reminder service module whenever it is ready to receive messages.
68. The reminder service module of claim 53, wherein, once the reminder agent is installed at the peer or system of the message receiving party, it is adapted to identify reminder data sets sent to him as message attachments.
69. The reminder service module of claim 53, wherein the reminder service module is designed to create the reminder agent such that it is identified by an identifying combination allotted to the reminder agent by the message sending party and usable by the message sending party to identify the reminder agent to be deactivated on the peer of the message receiving party.
70. The reminder service module of claim 53, wherein the reminder service module is designed to create a receipt message at the side of the message receiving party which receipt message is sent back to the message sending party, the receipt message containing information on the receipt of the message by the message receiving party.
71. The reminder service module of claim 53, wherein the reminder service module is designed to create the receipt message after creation of the reminder agent, whereby the receipt message contains not only the receipt information but also an information on the acceptance/refusal or the successful installation of a reminder by the message receiving party.
72. The reminder service module of claim 70 or 71, wherein the receipt message also contains an identification combination identifying the reminder agent received.
73. The reminder service module of claim 53, wherein a short version from the message and/or the reminder is extracted to be sent from the peer of the message receiving party and displayed on a mobile phone.
74. The reminder service module of any of the claims 53 to 72, wherein the reminder agent is programmed to synchronize the clock of the computer of the message receiving party with absolute time using available online synchronization services with "atomic clocks".
75. The reminder service module of any of the claims 53 to 74, wherein the reminder agent is adapted to check at the reminder server of the message sending party some time before the alarm time if there is an update information posted in order to update the specific reminder content.
76. Reminder service module for providing a reminder service to a message receiving party which reminder is related to a message from a message sending party to the message receiving party, wherein the module comprises a call up section by which the reminder service module is adapted to be called up in relation to a message to be sent a reminder agent creating section by which a reminder agent is created which is adapted to provide a reminder related to the message, an input section by which the reminder service module it is adapted to receive as an input a reminder information and to create a reminder data set, and an associating section by which the reminder data set is associated to the message.
77. The reminder service module of claim 76, wherein the associating section is adapted to add to the message a link to a database where the reminder data set file associated to the message is to be found.
78. The reminder service module of claim 76, wherein the database is a web-page.
79. The reminder service module of claim 76, wherein the reminder service module or the reminder agent is a) a software product at the peer of the message sending party, or b) a mail client software product on the peer of the message sending p k) a software product of the internet service provider (ISP) of the message sending party, or 1) included in a homepage of a party offering the reminder service module for use, or m) a software product at the peer of the message receiving party.
80. The reminder service module of claim 76, wherein the reminder agent is distributed to the message receiving party by means of CD or diskette.
81. The reminder service module of claim 76, wherein the reminder service module is designed to create the reminder agent by inputting the reminder data set into the reminder service module and, thereby into the reminder agent.
82. The reminder service module of claim 76, wherein the reminder service module is designed to register the number of messages are received and create a reminder and to make this number available for accounting puφoses.
83. The reminder service module of claim 76, wherein the reminder service module is designed to create the reminder agent such that it is adapted to be deactivated by sending a message with the deactivating agent from the message sending party to the message receiving party.
84. The reminder service module of claim 76, wherein the reminder service module is designed to create the reminder agent such that it is identified by an identifying combination allotted to the reminder agent by the message sending party and usable by the message sending party to identify the reminder agent to be deactivated on the peer of the message receiving party.
85. The reminder service module of claim 76, wherein the reminder service module is designed to create a receipt message at the side of the message receiving party which receipt message is sent back to the message sending party, the receipt message containing information on the receipt of the message by the message receiving party.
86. The reminder service module of claim 85, wherein the reminder service module is designed to create the receipt message after creation of the reminder agent, whereby the receipt message contains not only the receipt information but also an information on the acceptance/refusal of the reminder service by the message receiving party.
87. The reminder service module of claim 85 or 86, wherein the receipt message also contains an identification combination identifying the reminder agent received.
88. The reminder service module of claim 76, wherein, once the reminder agent is installed at the peer or system of the message receiving party, it is adapted to communicate with the reminder service module of the message sending party and, to this end, it will send a signal to the corresponding reminder service module whenever it is ready to receive messages.
89. The reminder service module claim 76, wherein, once the reminder agent is installed at the peer or system of the message receiving party, it is adapted to identify reminder data sets sent to him as message attachments.
90. The reminder service module of claim 76, wherein a short version from the message message and/or the reminder is extracted to be sent from the peer of the message receiving party and displayed on a mobile phone.
91. The reminder service module of any of the claims 76 to 90, wherein the reminder agent is programmed to synchronize the clock of the computer of the message receiving party with absolute time using available online synchronization services with "atomic clocks".
92. The reminder service module of any of the claims 76 to 91, wherein the reminder agent is adapted to check at the reminder server of the message sending party some time before the alarm time if there is an update information posted in order to update the specific reminder content.
93. A reminder agent to be associated to a message from a message sending party to a message receiving party, wherein the reminder agent comprises a loading section by which the reminder agent is to be loaded with a reminder data set containing at least the time and/or date for a reminder, and a reminder section by which the reminder agent provides a reminder related to the message at the peer of the message receiving party.
94. The reminder agent of claim 93, wherein the reminder agent is designed to put an indication to the message receiving party questioning whether the reminder agent is to be opened or not, and to destroy itself if it is not requested to open the reminder agent.
95. The reminder agent of claim 97, wherein the reminder agent is designed to temporarily install itself when it is opened.
96. The reminder agent of claim 93, wherein the reminder agent is designed to put an indication to the message receiving party questioning whether a new reminder data set should be input or not, and to allow a new reminder data set to be input if a new reminder data set is requested to be input.
97. The reminder agent of claim 93, wherein the reminder agent is designed not to allow changes in a final reminder data set and to destroy itself on an attempt to change the final reminder data set.
98. The reminder agent of claim 93, wherein the reminder agent is designed to put an indication to the message receiving party offering a countdown function and to allow the input of a countdown information if a countdown function is requested.
99. The reminder agent of claim 93, wherein the reminder agent is designed to put an indication to the message receiving party questioning whether the reminder data set is to be input into a local scheduler program or not, and to allow the input of a reminder data set if a reminder data set input is requested.
100. The reminder agent of to claim 93, wherein the reminder agent is designed to destroy itself after having effected the reminder.
101. The reminder agent of claim 93, wherein the reminder data set is associated to additional files related to the reminder to the reminder agent.
102. The reminder agent of claim 101, wherein the reminder data set is linked to additional files related to the reminder to the reminder agent.
103. The reminder agent of claim 101, wherein the reminder data set includes or has attached thereto additional files related to the reminder.
104. The reminder agent of any of the claims 101 to 103, wherein the additional files comprise road maps, musical tuns, or advertising material, announcements or a logo of the party offering the reminder service module for use or forms allowing payment of bills or a program performing a function previously programmed.
105. The reminder agent of claim 93, wherein the reminder agent comprises an internet link to the party offering the reminder service module for use.
106. The reminder agent claim 93, wherein, once the reminder agent is installed at the peer or system of the message receiving party, it is adapted to identify reminder data sets sent to him as message attachments.
107. The reminder agent of claim 93, wherein the reminder agent is distributed to the message receiving party by means of CD or diskette.
108. The reminder agent of claim 93, wherein the reminder service module is designed to create the reminder agent such that it is adapted to be deactivated by sending a message with the deactivating agent from the message sending party to the message receiving party.
109. The reminder agent of claim 93, wherein the reminder service module is designed to create the reminder agent such that it is identified by an identifying combination allotted to the reminder agent by the message sending party and usable by the message sending party to identify the reminder agent to be deactivated on the peer of the message receiving party.
110. The reminder agent of claim 93, wherein the reminder service module is designed to create a receipt message at the side of the message receiving party which receipt message is sent back to the message sending party, the receipt message containing information on the receipt of the message by the message receiving party.
111. The reminder agent of claim 93, wherein the reminder service module is designed to create the receipt message after creation of the reminder agent, whereby the receipt message contains not only the receipt information but also an information on the acceptance/refusal of the reminder service by the message receiving party.
112. The reminder agent of claim 111, wherein the receipt message also contains an identification combination identifying the reminder agent received.
113. The reminder agent of claim 93, wherein, once the reminder agent is installed at the peer or system of the message receiving party, it is adapted to communicate with the reminder service module of the message sending party and, to this end, it will send a signal to the corresponding reminder service module whenever it is ready to receive messages.
114. The method of claim 83, wherein, once the reminder agent is installed at the peer or system of the message receiving party, it is adapted to identify reminder data sets sent to him as message attachments.
115. The reminder agent of claim 93, wherein a short version from the message message and/or the reminder is extracted to be sent from the peer of the message receiving party and displayed on a mobile phone.
116. The reminder agent of any of the claims 93 to 115, wherein the reminder agent is programmed to synchronize the clock of the computer of the message receiving party with absolute time using available online synchronization services with "atomic clocks".
117. The reminder agent of any of the claims 93 to 116, wherein the reminder agent is adapted to check at the reminder server of the message sending party some time before the alarm time if there is an update information posted in order to update the specific reminder content.
PCT/EP2001/002506 2000-03-09 2001-03-06 Method and device for a reminder service WO2001067704A3 (en)

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