Global Graphics Software, a Hybrid Software Group company, has been granted a US patent for ‘Methods and systems for indicating and replacing missing element(s) in print job files prior to printing’.

The invention describes how a PDF file may be delivered containing placeholders for data that is not available at the time at which that PDF was created, or not available to the person creating the PDF file. The placeholders may be specified using patterns, spot colours or specific colour values. 

The method may therefore be used in a variety of use cases including:

  • Placeholders for variable data, especially in cases where the jobs should be streamed and the full set of data is not available when the print run starts, or where the variable data is generated dynamically on the fly during printing, such as serial and batch numbers, expiry dates, etc;
  • Placeholders for secure data that is only made accessible during the printing process, in the case of security documents, ID cards, lottery or entry tickets, etc; and
  • Placeholders for data that could be damaged if processed through a regular PDF creation and pre-press workflows, such as digital watermarking.

Martin Bailey, distinguished technologist at Global Graphics Software, explained, ‘There are times when a design delivered to a pre-press workflow or the digital front end for a digital press needs to mark some areas to have additional data added later. Examples include the print job or document rendering time or date, the print job or document rendering location, batch or serial numbers, a customer’s order number, customer name, a job name, a printer/converter/manufacturer’s job number, or a product identifier such as a Universal Product Code or European Article Number product code.

‘We work hard to deliver value and innovation to our OEM customers. This is one of a cluster of patents that highlights how the day-to-day work of our engineering and R&D teams is focused on delivering productivity and efficiency to print workflows.’

US patent no. 11334302B1) has been issued to Global Graphics Software by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.