A patent in the field of postal mail, shipping, fulfillment, delivery, and courier services has issued as U.S. Patent 7,617,112 for “Postal system, method and device”.
(Original article publication date: June 2, 2006 (Inventerprise))
Details of a new postal mail system have been disclosed today, revealing a service in which so-called “snail mail”—regular postal mail—can be sent without any physical mailing address. Under the new system, instead of using a traditional physical mailing address (name, street, city, state, zip), a sender simply applies an e-mail address (e-mail protected from spam bots) to an envelope, affixes the correct postage, and deposits the envelope with a postal carrier. Thereafter, the postal carrier hands of the envelope to a third-party service provider, which provider in turn finishes processing the envelope.
Multiple delivery scenarios are possible. In one embodiment, the intended recipient is contacted by e-mail and asked for a delivery preference. In another embodiment, the envelope is simply delivered to the registered owner of the domain name used in the e-mail address; the domain name owner then forwards the envelope to its final destination, if necessary.
Postage required for use of the new service is expected to cost three times the regular first-class mailing rate for an envelope, or two times the regular rate for a postcard.
The new service has not yet been approved by the United States Postal Service, although the creators are seeking approval for launch of the system in the United States before pursuing launch in other countries.
A company representative expressed some hopes for the future of the service today, saying, “We expect this service to simplify people’s lives by eliminating the need for maintaining a physical address book. Just keep up with someone’s e-mail address, and you are good to go.”
If approved by the United States Postal Service, a pilot program could be launched as early as 2008.
Comment: This system is part of the Alternative Address Shipping/Courier System.