I've heard it said so often. I've decide to correct it once and for all.
While PDF was invented by Adobe, the company no longer owns PDF. We all do.
Let me explain.
Most people closely identify PDF with Adobe Systems, and I can't fault the disinterested general public for that. After all, Adobe invented PDF back in 1993 and has developed, maintained and distributed the free Adobe Reader and paid Adobe Acrobat software ever since.
However, I'm often speaking with IT executives, CIOs, directors and other technical policy managers in very large corporations and agencies. The subject is generally a mission-critical business-process or set of project requirements. The background and nature of the technologies in question matter - and organizations benefit to the extent that people who need to know are properly informed of the facts so they can make informed decisions.
Most know their subjects, and are serving their organizations well. Sometimes, though, I have to counter gross misinformation passed as wisdom.
Anyone may create applications that can read and write PDF files without having to pay royalties to Adobe Systems
In 2007, under the auspices of AIIM, Adobe Systems began the ISO "Fast Track" process to hand control of the PDF format to the international community.
On July 1, 2008, version 1.7 of the PDF Reference became ISO 32000, an International Standard.
ISO 32000 is managed by industry representatives and others in open meetings under parliamentary rules. Anyone can observe and participate.
Adobe does not dominate ISO 32000. They have one vote on the Committee, just like every other voting member, and they do not always get what they want (trust me on that).
Adobe is not the only provider of PDF creation, manipulation or viewing software, there are many others, and more every year. (see my review of free PDF viewers)
Extrapolating from some simple examples, it's reasonable to suppose that tens of billions of PDF files exist today, with billions more created each year. A significant fraction of all the hard-drives on planet Earth are occupied with PDF files, perhaps more than any other document file-format.
The very first PDF file was an IRS form 1040. Joy.
Planet PDF talks with another Master of the PDF Universe, Eugene Y. Xiong, Founder and Chairman of the Board at Foxit Software Inc. in Fremont California. Xiong is a quiet yet astounding achiever, you (usually) won't find him talking at conferences, exhibits, or publishings, but what you will find is the result of his leadership in places you would never expect.
OK, so you want to stamp your document. Maybe you need to give reviewers some advice about the document's status or sensitivity. This tip from author Ted Padova demonstrates how to add stamps with the Stamp Tool along with related comments.