Via Licensing Corporation announced that it has been appointed licensing administrator for the joint licensing of MPEG-2 AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) patents on behalf of AT&T, Dolby Laboratories, Fraunhofer IIS, and Sony. The MPEG-2 AAC patent licensing program, initiated in 1998, was originally undertaken by Dolby Laboratories on behalf of the set of co-licensors who jointly developed the MPEG-2 AAC standard (ISO/IEC 13818-7).
Via Licensing was founded in 2002 to focus on patent licensing programs and patent pool administration. The MPEG-4 Audio specification (ISO/IEC 14496-3) incorporates MPEG-2 AAC as the basis of the MPEG-4 general audio coding system. Therefore, the assignment to license MPEG-2 AAC patents not only enables a fundamental portion of Via Licensing's product portfolio, but is also a milestone in the development of a larger MPEG-4 audio licensing program.
MPEG-2 AAC is the audio format used in Japanese Digital Broadcast system, known as ISDB (Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting). MPEG-2 AAC is also the basis of the audio coding technology used by XM Radio, one of the two satellite radio services currently operating in the United States. Additionally, the technology can be used for streaming and downloading music via the Internet, and has been specified within the SD (Secure Digital) memory card and the DVD-Audio recordable (DVD-AR) formats.
"Via Licensing provides streamlined access to the patents of multiple parties who contribute technology to standardization efforts. MPEG-2 AAC remains the benchmark for high-quality compressed audio, and is an important part of Via Licensing's product offerings," said Ramzi Haidamus, general manager of Via Licensing. "We are pleased to be able to continue to conduct the patent licensing program originally developed by Dolby, as this allows existing licensees and future customers alike to look to Via Licensing as the convenient source for access to the patents needed for next-generation MPEG audio-based products."