Via Licensing Announces MPEG-4 SLS Patent Pool License

Mon Jan 5, 2009 11:03am EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

SAN FRANCISCO--(Business Wire)--
Via Licensing Corporation today announced a joint patent licensing program for
MPEG-4 SLS (Scalable to Lossless Coding). SLS is an audio compression technology
which extends MPEG-4 AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) from perceptually transparent
playback to true lossless audio quality, in a scalable fashion. This means that
losslessly-compressed audio files can be played through an SLS decoder with
results that are bit-for-bit identical to the original source material. The same
SLS files can also be played back through a standard AAC decoder, such as an
iPod, and will deliver the same listening experience as if the source material
were encoded in AAC. 

SLS (which is also known as HD AAC), will be presented by Fraunhofer IIS during
the 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at booth 3219. 

SLS is particularly suited for use in broadcast and music production
environments where its lossless performance allows multiple phases of the
recording and editing process to be managed without signal loss. SLS can also
ensure that the final production delivers a faithful and complete rendering of
the uncompressed source material. The scalability of SLS gives users the ability
to maximize sound quality during distribution, by matching the bit-rate to the
available bandwidth. 

SLS is implemented as an enhancement layer to the AAC codec. Upward scalability
(towards full lossless performance and quality) is achieved by dedicating
varying amounts of data to the SLS enhancement. 

The average compression ratio of SLS equals or is superior to many existing
lossless audio compression schemes that do not offer the key feature of
backward-compatibility. In addition, SLS features multi-channel capabilities. 

SLS gives consumers the ability to manage and store a music library which can
deliver lossless playback on high-quality audio equipment as well as playback on
standard AAC devices. In the event that consumers would elect to use a future
audio coding technology, re-encoding of material stored in a lossless format
such as SLS may help guarantee optimum results. 

The SLS patent licensing program launches with an "early adopter incentive."
Parties that execute the SLS license by March 31, 2009 will not owe any SLS
license fees on products sold prior to January 1, 2010. In addition, Via
Licensing`s customary initial fee will be reduced during the period prior to
April 1, 2009. 

Licensors offering their essential SLS patents through the new licensing program
currently include: A*STAR Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd (Singapore), Fraunhofer
IIS (Germany), and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (Japan). 

Mr. Boon Swan Foo, the Executive Chairman of A*STAR Exploit Technologies, said,
"Exploit Technologies sees much value in joining the SLS licensing program
together with Fraunhofer IIS, and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation. As
one of the pioneers in the MPEG-4 SLS research area, A*STAR has robust patented
technology for commercial applications. This patent pool creates opportunities
for more companies to leverage the technology to benefit their customers. More
people using SLS technology will increase its value. Through network effects and
increased adoption, we look forward to making knowledge in the SLS field more
accessible and raising industry awareness of this important technology." 

"As a result of our joint standardization efforts in MPEG, we can now offer an
ISO standard codec that combines the quality benefits of future-proof lossless
compression with the convenience of a format that plays on legacy iPods and
millions of cellular phones already on the market," said Stefan Geyersberger,
Head of IP Licensing, Audio, and Multimedia at Fraunhofer IIS. "Fraunhofer
provides efficient, high-quality software implementations of HD AAC to hardware
and software encoder and player manufacturers, and we welcome the availability
of the SLS patent license through Via Licensing as a one-stop shopping solution
for MPEG-4 AAC and SLS patents." 

"I am pleased that I2R, Fraunhofer IIS, and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone
Corporation have collaborated to move the commercialization of the MPEG-4 SLS to
a higher level with this joint licensing program. I2R has invested tremendous
resources to develop innovative technologies for this standard to enhance the
enjoyment of music for consumers worldwide. It is also a tribute to our
strategic efforts to be a global player in infocomm and media," said I2R`s
Deputy Executive Director of Research, Professor Lye Kin Mun. 

Via Licensing continues to welcome the addition of third parties that hold
patents which are essential to the practice of MPEG-4 SLS. Any entity holding
patents it believes are necessary for the SLS standard, may obtain participation
information by sending an e-mail requesting the SLS patent submission guidelines

The joint SLS patent license is expected to be available in Q1 2009. For more
information please visit the Via Licensing website at 

About Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd

Exploit Technologies is the strategic marketing and commercialization arm of the
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Its mission is to support
A*STAR in transforming the economy through commercializing R&D. Exploit
Technologies enhances the research output of A*STAR scientists by translating
their inventions into marketable products or processes. Through licensing deals
and spin-offs with industry partners, Exploit Technologies is a key driver of
technology transfer in Singapore. It actively engages industry leaders and
players to commercialize A*STAR's technologies and capabilities, bridging the
gap from Mind to Market. Exploit Technologies` charter is to identify, protect
and exploit promising intellectual property (IP) created by A*STAR`s research

For more information, please visit

About Fraunhofer IIS

The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, based in Erlangen,
Germany, is home of the organization`s Audio and Multimedia division that has
been working in compressed audio technology for more than 20 years. Fraunhofer
IIS is universally credited with the development of the seminal mp3 coding
algorithms and co-development of AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) as well as MPEG
Surround technology standards. Throughout more than two decades, Fraunhofer IIS
has licensed its audio codec software to more than 1,000 companies. 

Fraunhofer estimates that it has enabled more than 1 billion commercial products
worldwide using its mp3, AAC and other media technologies. The Fraunhofer IIS
organization is part of Fraunhofer- Gesellschaft, based in Munich, Germany.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is Europe`s largest applied research organization and is
partly funded by the German government. With nearly 13,000 employees worldwide,
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is composed of 56 Institutes conducting research in a
broad range of research areas. For more information on Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
and Fraunhofer IIS, contact Matthias Rose, . 

About Institute for Infocomm Research

The Institute for Infocomm Research (I²R - pronounced as i-squared-r) is a
member of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) family.
Established in 2002, I2R`s mission is to be the globally preferred source of
innovations in Interactive Secured Information, Content and Services Anytime
Anywhere through research by passionate people dedicated to Singapore`s economic

I²R performs R&D in information, communications and media (ICM) technologies to
develop holistic solutions across the ICM value chain. I²R`s research
capabilities are in information technology and science, wireless and optical
communications, and interactive digital media. I2R seeks to be the infocomm and
media value creator that keeps Singapore ahead. Website:

About Via Licensing Corporation

Via Licensing Corporation develops and administers patent licensing programs on
behalf of innovative technology companies and for the convenience of licensees.
Via Licensing Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dolby Laboratories,
Inc. (NYSE:DLB) and benefits from the expertise, infrastructure, and strategic
business relationships that Dolby has developed in more than 35 years of
licensing into the consumer electronics and personal computing markets. Via
Licensing is involved in the development and operation of licensing programs for
both mandated and de facto or emerging standards. For more information about Via
Licensing Corporation, please visit 

Certain statements in this press release, including statements regarding the
capabilities and adoption of SLS and the eventual availability and expected
timing of a joint patent license for technologies essential to the MPEG-4 SLS
licensing program, are "forward-looking statements" that are subject to risks
and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements are based on management`s
current expectations and, as a result of certain risks and uncertainties, actual
results may differ materially from those anticipated. The following important
factors, without limitation, could cause actual results to differ materially
from those in the forward-looking statements: risks associated with licensing
technologies through joint licensing programs; risks associated with licensing
industry-standard technologies; risks associated with developing proprietary
technology in markets in which "open standards" are adopted; market acceptance
of SLS capable devices; rapid changes in audio surround-sound transmission
technologies; risks associated with the development of markets for SLS-capable
products; and other risks detailed in Dolby Laboratories, Inc.`s Securities and
Exchange Commission filings and reports, including the risks identified under
the section captioned "Risk Factors" in its most recent Periodic Report on Form
10-Q or 10-K. Dolby disclaims any obligation to update information contained in
these forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future
events, or otherwise. 

Via Licensing
Sean Durkin, 415-645-5176

Copyright Business Wire 2009