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Adobe snaps up document security tools

Copy-restriction software lets businesses safeguard sensitive documents, including PDF, Microsoft Office and CAD files.

Adobe Systems is adding new document protection mechanisms to its business workflow software with an acquisition announced on Monday.

The company has acquired FileLine Digital Rights Management software from privately-held , based in Raleigh, N.C., for an undisclosed sum. The copy-restriction program is designed to guard business files, especially engineering documents, from intellectual property thieves.

Adobe, based in San Jose, Calif., plans to incorporate the program into its software, a line of server software for updating and routing PDF documents. In addition to safeguarding Adobe PDF files, the FileLine program is also designed to protect Microsoft Office and computer-aided design documents, the company said.

The newly bought software helps businesses restrict how, when and who can use such documents. It also features an audit log that shows everyone who has accessed documents and indicates improper usage or disclosure. The program enables version control, to prevent the distribution of outdated documents, as well.

Adobe has continually added new capabilities to LiveCycle, a key product in its effort to increase sales to businesses and compete with Microsoft and IBM on that front. Adobe with workflow design technology it purchased in 2004.

By adding document protection for Microsoft Office files to its bag of tricks, Adobe . The company's recent acquisition of Macromedia, which makes Web application development tools, has also intensified that rivalry.

The company plans to complete its integration of FileLine into LiveCycle Document Services by the end of they year. LiveCycle Document Services starts at $65,000 per server. Adobe has not yet disclosed pricing for the FileLine product.