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[Mar 20, 2007] Google issued a patent for a "method and system for selectively blocking delivery of bulk electronic mail".

According to its description, the origin address of an email message is validated to enable blocking of email from spam e-mail sources. To validate it, the system prepares, in response to the receipt of a predetermined e-mail message from an unverified source address, a data key encoding information reflective of the predetermined e-mail message. This message, including the data key, is then issued to the unverified source address.

The computer system then operates to detect whether a response e-mail message, responsive to the challenge e-mail message, is received and whether the response e-mail message includes a response key encoding predetermined information reflective of a predetermined aspect of the challenge e-mail message. The unverified source address may be recorded in a verified source address list.

Thus, when an e-mail message is received, the computer may operate to accept receipt of a predetermined e-mail message on condition that the source address of the predetermined e-mail message is recorded in the verified source address list and alternatively on condition that the predetermined e-mail message includes the response key.

This patent, thought assigned to Google, was created by Steven Kirsch, who worked with Vint Cerf (Google evangelist), invented the optical mouse, and founded Abaca, a Silicon Valley start-up developing anti-spam products.

This patented technology would be useful not only for Gmail, but also for 'Google Apps for your Domain' a product focused on enterprise customers. More information on this document.

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