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About the contributor
Matthew Hardy

I am a Senior Computer Scientist and Project Lead with Adobe Systems, working on the Adobe Acrobat and Reader products. I have worked with PDF for over 12 years, having obtained a PhD in Computer Science investigating PDF content recognition and logical structure insertion and validation. I am a Technical Expert for ISO on the PDF Reference, PDF/A, PDF/E and PDF/UA standards.
More contributions
Have we passed ‘peak PDF’?

How do we gain insight into how users’ views of documents are shifting? Google Trends is an increasingly interesting source of high-level marketplace data. By aggregating Google’s search data over time, reporting a term’s popularity as compared with all other searches.

Participating in the PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit

The PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit’s objective is to establish a broad-based understanding of how PDF files should be tagged for accessibilty. It’s an opportunity to focus on establishing a common set of examples of accessible PDF content, and identify best-practice when tagging difficult cases.

Members supporting PDF features!

The typical adoption curve for PDF technologies until approximately 2007 tended to track with that of the original PDF developer. Since then the marketplace has shifted; it’s no longer clear that Adobe drivesPDF feature support worldwide. Accordingly, we are happy to report that adoption of PDF 2.0 continues apace, with new vendors announcing their support every month.

Modernizing PDF Techniques for Accessibility

The PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit will identify best-practices in tagging various cases in PDF documents. Questions to be addressed will likely include: the legal ways to tag a nested list, the correct way to caption multiple images, the appropriate way to organize content within headings.

Refried PDF

My hospital emailed me a medical records release form as a PDF. They told me to print it, fill it, sign it, scan it and return it to the medical records department, in that order. In 2018? To get the form via email (i.e., electronically), yet be asked to print it? Did the last 20 years just… not mean anything! So I thought I’d be clever. I’d fill it first, THEN print it. Or better yet, never print it, but sign it anyhow, and return it along with a note making the case for improving their workflow. The story continues…

Adobe Resolves Patent Questions on ISO 32000

PDF developers know, of course, that Adobe turned PDF over to ISO in 2008 with the publication of ISO 32000-1:2008, the ISO-ized version of PDF 1.7. Even so, it has come to our attention that questions remain about the release of patents associated with PDF.

In response to these questions, I sent the following answer clarifying the situation:

I think the major issue here is old documentation referring specifically to the Adobe PDF Reference 1.7 and earlier versus the new ISO-centric documentation.  I can point anyone to the ISO patent release document at Adobe:


It is very important to understand that this document is very explicit in its granting of rights to use the components of the ISO 32000 standard, in terms of the rights granted from an authoring and a consumption standpoint.

Adobe grants every individual and organization in the world the royalty-free right, under all Essential Claims that Adobe owns, to make, have made, use, sell, import and distribute Compliant Implementations. If a licensee brings (or participates directly or indirectly in the bringing of) a lawsuit or similar action against any other party claiming that Compliant Implementation infringes an Essential Claim, Adobe may revoke the rights granted above to such licensee. Upon such revocation, such rights will be deemed to have never been granted.

Adobe is also very clear on what “Compliant Implementation” means.

“Compliant Implementation” means the portion of an application, product, or service that reads, writes modifies or processes computer files compliant with the Specification.

This is very clearly spelled out.  I realize that even when I was searching for our patent declaration on the Adobe website, I accidentally found other pages and I can see why that causes a small amount of initial confusion.  But, as soon as you find the above document, it becomes very obvious that an old document referring to the PDF reference does not apply to the ISO 32000 standard.

I hope this clearly answers the questions that have been raised.

Matthew Hardy
Adobe Systems, Senior Computer Scientist

Tags: IP, Linearization, Software Development, intellectual property
Categories: PDF