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MPEG-4 Audio Licensing Committee Selects Via Licensing Corporation as Administrator; MPEG-4 Audio Licensing Committee Finalizing Terms for Audio Profile Licensing.

Business Editors/High-Tech Writers


Members of the MPEG-4 Audio Licensing Committee have announced the selection of Via Licensing Corporation as the Licensing Administrator for the MPEG-4 Audio patent pool. This development will hasten the availability of standard licensing agreements for patents essential to MPEG-4 Audio technologies.

MPEG Audio technologies are familiar to users around the world. MPEG-1 Layer 3, otherwise known as MP3, provides an excellent example of the value of an open and interoperable standard in the creation of new applications and markets.

The most recent MPEG standard, MPEG-4, doesn't define a single audio coding scheme, but rather a rich set of technologies addressing a range of different applications and covering a spectrum of bit-rate, scalability, and audio quality requirements. The goal of the MPEG-4 Audio Licensing Committee is to provide one-stop access to patents from multiple parties that are necessary for the practice of MPEG-4 Audio under fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory conditions.

The MPEG-4 Audio standard is organized so that various audio tools, or coding approaches, are assembled into Audio Objects that are further combined into multiple MPEG-4 Audio Profiles. The work of the MPEG-4 Audio Licensing Committee was initiated by the MPEG-4 Industry Forum (M4IF) with a request that patent holders develop licensing terms for three MPEG-4 Audio Profiles: the High Quality Audio Profile, the Speech Audio Profile, and the Mobile Audio Internetworking ("MAUI") Profile.

In addition to these three profiles, members of the Licensing Committee are working with Via Licensing Corporation to create essential patent license agreements for those Audio Objects that are of interest to the market on a stand-alone basis.

According to Ramzi Haidamus, general manager, Via Licensing Corporation, "The MPEG-4 Audio standard is quite complex and still evolving today. Numerous industries look to MPEG for fundamental media technologies, and our aim is to provide access to the technology in those combinations that are sought by its users. As the standard evolves and the market's understanding of the technology matures, Via Licensing will remain responsive to the needs of both licensees and licensors in developing patent license packages that make business sense."

The specific technologies comprising the MPEG-4 Audio Profiles to be covered by the initial licenses are:
-- Speech Audio Profile--CELP, HVXC, TTSI

-- High Quality Audio Profile--AAC LC, AAC LTP, AAC Scalable, CELP, ER AAC LC, ER AAC LTP, ER AAC Scalable, ER CELP

-- Mobile Audio Internetworking Profile--ER AAC LC, ER AAC Scalable, ER TwinVQ, ER BSAC, ER AAC LD

Member companies of the MPEG-4 Audio Licensing Committee own essential patents in these MPEG-4 Audio Profiles. The members include AT&T; Dolby Laboratories; Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI); France Telecom; Fraunhofer IIS; Fujitsu Limited; NEC Corporation; Nokia Corporation; Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT); Philips Electronics; Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.; Sony Corporation; and VoiceAge Corporation. These companies have been meeting over the course of the past year in order to develop licensing models and terms and conditions for access to essential MPEG-4 Audio patent rights.

The Licensing Committee expects to deliver MPEG-4 Audio Profile license agreements in the first quarter of 2003.

For more information about MPEG-4 Audio, please visit the Via Licensing Corporation website at or contact

About MPEG-4 Audio

The MPEG-4 Audio standard consists of a variety of audio coding technologies ranging from speech coding (HVXC, CELP), general audio coding (AAC, TwinVQ, BSAC), a Text-To-Speech Interface (TTSI), and numerous additional audio synthesis and coding techniques. MPEG-4 Audio Profiles define combinations of these audio tools aimed at particular application targets. Further information about MPEG-4 can be found at the MPEG website,, and at the website of the MPEG-4 Industry Forum,

About Via Licensing Corporation

Via Licensing Corporation, a subsidiary of Dolby Laboratories, develops and administers patent licensing programs or patent pools on behalf of innovative technology companies. Though functionally independent of Dolby's other operations, Via Licensing benefits from the technical expertise and strategic business relationships that Dolby has developed in more than 30 years of licensing into the consumer electronics and personal computing markets. Based in San Francisco, with its offices located at 999 Brannan Street, San Francisco, CA 94103, Via Licensing's staff includes experts in intellectual property law, technology standardization, strategic business development, and program administration. Affiliated specialists in the fields of finance, antitrust law, and patent analysis complete the set of capabilities that make Via Licensing a premier service provider to companies and organizations seeking patent licensing administration services.

Dolby is a registered trademark of Dolby Laboratories. All other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Dec 2, 2002
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