News Column

Patent Application Titled "Image Forming Apparatus, Method for Controlling the Same, and Storage Medium" Published Online

May 27, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventor Funane, Nao (Kawasaki-shi, JP), filed on January 13, 2014, was made available online on May 15, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is Canon Kabushiki Kaisha.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to an image forming apparatus which manages setting data therein, a method for controlling the image forming apparatus, and a storage medium.

"Commonly, image forming apparatuses such as copying machines are provided with a function for saving in its hard disk (HD) address data (fax number, mail address, etc.) constituting an address book, section ID, login user information, and other setting information of the image forming apparatus as setting data. A user can perform various pieces of processing with an image forming apparatus by using the stored setting data. For example, when transmitting a fax or mail with attached scanned data, stored address data is read out and the address book is displayed on an operation panel of the image forming apparatus. The user can transmit a fax or mail by selecting a destination address from the address book.

"With this configuration, the image forming apparatus can store the above-mentioned setting data in an external apparatus such as a server apparatus via a network, receive the setting data from the external apparatus, and restore it as its own setting data. For example, the following technique is discussed in Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open No. 2006-173679. In the event that an external apparatus transmits wrong address data to the image forming apparatus for the purpose of importing new address data into the address book of the image forming apparatus, the image forming apparatus stores the wrong address data in the address book. More specifically, the external apparatus transmits to the image forming apparatus the backup data of the address book stored in the external apparatus together with a restore instruction. The image forming apparatus receives the backup data of the address book from the external apparatus and restores the address book in response to the restore instruction from the external apparatus.

"However, with the above-mentioned conventional technique, since the external apparatus needs to transmit data to the image forming apparatus via the network to restore setting data, a communication error may be caused by network failure during transmission of the setting data. If a communication error occurs during transmission of the setting data to be restored, correct data cannot be transmitted until the error is corrected and therefore wrong data remains set in the image forming apparatus. This situation has been a problem that hinders the user from performing various operations by using the image forming apparatus. For example, when the setting data is address data, transmission of the setting data may take at least 10 minutes depending on the amount of information. In this case, communication between the external apparatus and the image forming apparatus is highly likely to be disconnected during the restore processing for the address data.

"With the above-mentioned conventional technique, since the image forming apparatus transmits a backup file of the setting data to the external apparatus for storage in the external apparatus, the setting data exists both in the external apparatus and the image forming apparatus, which causes a security problem. Commonly, the image forming apparatus manages its users so that only users registered in the image forming apparatus can use it. When a user wants to use the image forming apparatus, the user needs to enter a relevant login ID and password registered therein. In this case, when confidential data such as an address book is stored in the external apparatus, a user not having the authority may possibly browse and edit the confidential data depending on the security setting in the destination external apparatus. Therefore, there has been a problem that, when storing the setting data of the image forming apparatus in the external apparatus, not only the security setting of the image forming apparatus but also the security setting of the destination external apparatus must be taken into consideration."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "According to an aspect of the present invention, an image forming apparatus includes: a storage unit configured to store information about the image forming apparatus; a receiving unit configured to receive from the information processing apparatus an instruction as to setting data of the image forming apparatus stored in a setting data storage area of the storage unit; a backup unit configured to perform, when the instruction is a backup instruction of the setting data, backing up by acquiring the setting data from the setting data storage area, creating a backup file, and storing the created backup file in a backup area of the storage unit; and a restoration unit configured to restore, when the instruction is a restore instruction of the setting data, the stored backup file as setting data in the setting data storage area.

"Further features and aspects of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of exemplary embodiments with reference to the attached drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of the specification, illustrate exemplary embodiments, features, and aspects of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.

"FIG. 1 illustrates a configuration of a data management system according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating a configuration of an image forming apparatus.

"FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating a configuration of an information processing apparatus.

"FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary address book management screen.

"FIG. 5 is a flow chart illustrating processing for backing up an address book.

"FIG. 6 is a flow chart illustrating processing for restoring the address book.

"FIG. 7 is a flow chart illustrating processing for importing data into the address book.

"FIG. 8 is a flow chart illustrating error processing when restoring the address book.

"FIG. 9 is a flow chart illustrating processing for recording processing result and reason of error.

"FIG. 10 is a flow chart illustrating processing for automatically restoring the address book.

"FIG. 11 illustrates an exemplary memory map in a hard disk drive (HDD) of the image forming apparatus."

For more information, see this patent application: Funane, Nao. Image Forming Apparatus, Method for Controlling the Same, and Storage Medium. Filed January 13, 2014 and posted May 15, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=4200&p=84&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140508.PD.&OS=PD/20140508&RS=PD/20140508

Keywords for this news article include: Canon Kabushiki Kaisha, Information Technology, Information and Data Storage.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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