AAC Joint Patent Licensing Program Update

Monday, January 5th, 2009
Via Licensing logo

Via Licensing Announces Updated AAC Joint Patent License

SAN FRANCISCO — Via Licensing Corporation today announced a comprehensive update to its Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) joint patent licensing program which enables licensees to secure rights to MPEG-2 AAC, MPEG-4 AAC, MPEG-4 High Efficiency AAC (HE AAC), and for the first time, HE AAC v.2, all under a single license.

With this development, the AAC joint patent licensing program (also known as a patent pool) better reflects the nature of the AAC family of audio technologies. AAC embodies a backwards-compatible superset architecture, through which more advanced implementations, such as HE AAC v.2, can offer dramatically higher compression rates while still retaining the ability to playback audio content designed for earlier generations of AAC. This set of AAC-based audio coding technologies addresses applications ranging from the extremely low bit-rate requirements of cellular phone network distribution to the performance-based requirements of high-definition broadcast applications.

“The original AAC licensing regime evolved in parallel with several stages of technical and standardization work within MPEG,” said Andrew Fischer, Director, Licensing Programs, Via Licensing Corporation. “This resulted, over time, in multiple distinct licensing programs. The newly updated program for AAC simplifies access to a set of commercially relevant AAC technologies and allows licensees to more easily deploy AAC across multiple product lines and applications.”

The updated AAC program offers numerous benefits to licensees including simplified reporting and the ability to aggregate volume across multiple AAC technologies and product categories. The updated AAC licensing program also offers the following:

  • Device-based pricing (instead of channel-based pricing)
  • Annual pricing resets (instead of quarterly resets)
  • Per-product price caps for multi-channel devices.

In addition to HE AAC v.2 (the combination of AAC LC, SBR, and PS), which is specified for 3G phones and new television and radio broadcast systems worldwide, applications covered by the updated AAC license include the Japanese 1seg broadcast system, which utilizes the combination of MPEG-2 AAC and SBR (Spectral Band Replication).

Additionally, manufacturers deploying state-of-the-art audio and/or video conferencing systems can now license the patent rights to AAC-ELD (Enhanced Low Delay) through the AAC joint licensing program.

The licensors who are offering their essential AAC patents through the AAC licensing program include: AT&T, Dolby Laboratories, Inc., France Telecom, Fraunhofer IIS, LG Electronics, NEC Corporation, NTT DOCOMO, Panasonic Corporation, Philips Electronics, and Sony Corporation.

The new AAC license is available immediately. Entities currently licensed in other Via audio programs can obtain the new license without paying Via Licensing’s customary initial fee. For more information, please visit the Via Licensing website.

For a demonstration of AAC technologies, visit the Fraunhofer IIS Booth, North Hall 3219, or the Dolby Laboratories, Inc. Booth, South Hall 20901 at 2009 International CES® in Las Vegas, NV from January 7 – 11, 2009.