Access Advance LLC (formerly HEVC Advance LLC) is an independent licensing administrator company formed to lead the development, administration, and management of patent pools for licensing essential patents of the most important standards-based video codec technologies. The company, originally known as HEVC Advance LLC, changed its LLC name in October 2020 to Access Advance LLC to convey its expanded focus on licensing additional standards-based video codec technologies, such as Versatile Video Coding (VVC), for which the company is planning to launch a new VVC licensing program in early 2021. Access Advance currently offers a patent pool license via the HEVC Advance Patent Portfolio License, which grants a license to over 10,000 patents essential to practicing the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) video standard, which is also known as MPEGH Part 2 and H.265. HEVC/H.265 is an advanced video compression standard developed through a collaboration between the ITU and ISO/IEC MPEG standard setting organizations.
On March 26, 2015, HEVC Advance announced that, when first offered, its HEVC Patent Portfolio License would include at least 500 essential HEVC patents owned by the founding licensors.
On July 22, 2015, HEVC Advance announced its initial HEVC patent licensing program, with royalty rates based on the country/territory of sale, type of device, HEVC profile, HEVC extensions, and HEVC optional features. HEVC Advance specified that the Patent Portfolio License would license devices that included a decoder, an encoder, or a combination of decoder and encoder, with royalties based on each device implementing at least the Main/Main10 Profiles, and with additional royalties due if the device also implemented any one of more of the Advanced Profiles in version 2 of the standard: Multiview, Range Extension, and Scalable. In addition, HEVC Advance announced that the Patent Portfolio License would be required for, and assess royalties on, content.
The HEVC Advance Patent Portfolio License provided two sets of royalty rates based on whether the country/territory into which the device or content was sold to an end user was classified by HEVC Advance as Region 1 or Region 2. Region 1 included the United States, Canada, the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and others. All countries/territories not listed as Region 1 were classified for licensing purposes as Region 2.
For Region 1, the HEVC Advance Patent Portfolio License provided a minimum royalty rate of US$0.40 per device, and a maximum royalty rate of US$2.60 per device (depending on the device type and the Profiles implemented), and a content royalty rate of 0.5% of the revenue generated from HEVC video services. For Region 2, the HEVC Advance Patent Portfolio License provided a minimum royalty rate of US$0.20 per device, and a maximum royalty rate of US$1.30 per device (depending on the device type and the Profiles implemented), and a content royalty rate of 0.5% of the revenue generated from applicable HEVC video services.
The HEVC Advance Patent Portfolio License offered discounts on royalty rates for licensees who remained in compliance with their license obligations, and further discounts for licensees who agreed to mark their products and services with the HEVC Advance trademark under the HEVC Advance Trademark program. The total value of these discounts was 25% off the standard rates.
The proposed licensing terms, especially the proposal to base content royalties on a portion of gross revenue, were criticized by content companies. The CTO of MLB Advanced Media - one of the largest streaming platforms in the U.S. - opined that no mainstream company would accept those terms.
Following the feedback from the industry, HEVC Advance announced revisions to its license program December 18, 2015. The revised HEVC Advance Patent Portfolio License included lower maximum device royalty rates, a waiver of royalties on content that was free to end users including ad-supported content, and reduced royalty rates for distribution of HEVC content paid for by consumers on a title by title basis or on a subscription basis. In addition, the revised license program introduced caps on annual royalties including a company-wide cap for devices of US$40 million and a US$5 million cap for content.
On November 22, 2016, HEVC Advance announced additional revisions to its HEVC licensing terms, providing that certain types of software implementation of HEVC could be distributed directly to consumer mobile devices and personal computers royalty free and without requiring a patent license.
In June 2017, HEVC Advance opened a branch office in Tokyo, Japan to manage its licensing efforts in Asia.
In October 2017, responding to the evolving market environment and in an effort to accelerate adoption of HEVC/H.265 in lower-price devices, HEVC Advance announced additional reductions in royalty rates for many lower-price devices in the Connected Home and Other Devices category, including a range of lower rates for set-top boxes and surveillance cameras.
In March 2018, HEVC Advance eliminated content distribution royalty fees for all non-physical HEVC content distribution, including internet streaming, cable, over-the-air broadcast, and satellite. At the same time, HEVC Advance further expanded the range of reduced Region 1 rates for lower-price devices in the Connected Home and Other Devices category, reduced its combined US$45MM Device and Content Distribution Enterprise caps to a single Enterprise cap of US$40MM, and expanded its HEVC Advance Trademark Program discounts to include physical media.
By October 2019, 26 licensors had joined with HEVC Advance to make their HEVC essential patents available in the HEVC Advance Patent Portfolio License, including Canon, NTT, NTT Docomo, Fraunhofer, SK Telecom, JVCKenwood Corp., NEC Corp., Intellectual Discovery Co., Ltd., and Korea Patent Investment Corporation.
In January 2020, HEVC Advance announced that LG and Huawei had joined as HEVC licensors, making their HEVC essential patents available in the HEVC Advance Patent Portfolio License. Also in January 2020, nine HEVC licensors who had been HEVC licensors' in both the MPEG-LA and HEVC Advance patent pools left MPEG-LA's HEVC patent pool, remaining as licensors solely in the HEVC Advance Patent Pool.
In March 2020, HEVC Advance announced that Toshiba had joined as a HEVC licensor, and Samsung, which had joined the HEVC Advance Patent Pool in April 2017, also withdrew as a licensor from the MPEG-LA HEVC Patent Pool.
As of April 2020, the HEVC Advance Patent Portfolio License included more than 10,700 patents, the first HEVC patent pool license to include more than 10,000 patents. At the time, that number represented an estimated 60% to 70% of all HEVC-essential patents (estimated to be a total of 17,000 HEVC standard essential patents worldwide), This represented approximately 6,500 more patents than the number of HEVC essential patents then available to new licensees in the MPEG-LA license.
In an August 2020 press release, HEVC Advance announced a name change from HEVC Advance LLC to Access Advance LLC as a result of its expanding patent pool focus. The LLC name change went into effect as of October 1, 2020. Also in this press release, Access Advance announced a draft licensing program for Versatile Video Coding (VVC). According to the press release, the Licensing Program, building on the success of its HEVC Program, would establish the 'Advance Licensing Program for Video Codecs." The Platform license structure, which Access Advance plans to announce in 2021, would provide a stand-alone "VVC Platform License," a simplified stand-alone "HEVC Platform License," and, most importantly, a "Joint HEVC + VVC Platform License" that is expected to provide a substantial discount for products with both HEVC and VVC technologies. Compared with Access Advance's current HEVC license, which will continued to be offered for as long as any current or future licensees wish, the new Platform License structure will be streamlined and will enable existing and future licensees to easily transition to one of more Platform Licenses at any time. The Platform structure will also allow additional next generation video technologies to be efficiently added in the future.
As of October 14, 2020 the following companies licensed their HEVC essential patents in the HEVC Advance Patent Portfolio License. The current list of licensors can be found on the Licensors Page, and the current list of patents can be found on the Patent List Page of the HEVC Advance website. Each patent holder licensing its HEVC essential patents in the HEVC Advance Patent Portfolio License also makes those patents available for license on a bilateral basis for implementers who prefer to license bilaterally.
HEVC Advance Licensors
|Canon, Inc.||Korean Broadcasting System|
|Digital Insights Inc.|
|Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation||Korea Patent Investment Corporation Ltd. (KPIC)|
|Dolby International AB||KT Corporation|
|Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, including patents co-owned among:
- Industry-Academy Cooperation Foundation of Sejong University
|Kwangwoon University, Industry-Academic Collaboration Foundation|
|Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Föderung der angewandten Forschung||LG Electronics Inc.|
|GE Video Compression, LLC||Mitsubishi Electric Corporation|
|Godo Kaisha IP Bridge 1||NEC Corporation|
|HFI Innovation Inc.||Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation|
|Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.||NTT DOCOMO, INC.|
|HUMAX Co., Ltd.||Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.|
|IBEX PT Holdings Inc.||SK Telecom Co., Ltd.|
|Intellectual Discovery Co., Ltd.||Toshiba Corporation|
|JVCKenwood Corporation||University-Industry Cooperation Foundation of Korea Aerospace University|
|Koninklijke Philips N.V.||University-Industry Cooperation Group of Kyung Hee University|
|Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology||Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.|
Technicolor SA initially participated in the formation of the HEVC Advance Patent Pool, and announced in December 2015 that it would join HEVC Advance as a licensor. In January 2016, Technicolor SA reversed course and decided that rather join HEVC Advance it would directly license its HEVC patents on a bilateral basis. HEVC Advance previously listed 12 patents from Technicolor. Technicolor SA subsequently sold its patent licensing business, including its HEVC patents, to Interdigital in 2019. Technicolor SA became an HEVC Advance licensee in 2019 by executing an HEVC Advance Patent Portfolio License.
- "HEVC Advance Releases Draft VVC Licensing Program Overview – includes a Joint VVC and HEVC License". accessadvance.com. Retrieved 2020-10-02.
- "HEVC Advance Launches to Rally Critical Mass of Stakeholders to Deliver Next Generation Video Experiences". PR Newswire. 2015-03-26. Retrieved 2015-03-28.
- "HEVC Advance Announces Key Milestones to Support Next Era of Digital Video Creation and Distribution". PR Newswire. 2015-07-22. Retrieved 2015-07-22.
- "Royalty Rates Summary" (PDF). HEVC Advance. 2017-09-11. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
- Jan Ozer (1 December 2015). "HEVC's Journey in 2015: Going Downhill and Gaining Speed". Streaming Media Magazine.
- "HEVC Advance Releases Revised Licensing Terms". Streaming Media Magazine. 2015-12-18. Retrieved 2020-04-27.
- "The leading 4K video format might not get ruined by patents after all". 21 December 2015.
It’s possible that HEVC Advance realized it was slowing adoption and therefore shooting itself in the foot. But it’s also worth noting that in recent months, another group called Alliance for Open Media has been working on a royalty-free video format.
- "LG Joins HEVC Advance Patent Pool for Video". Light Reading. 8 January 2020. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
- Bevir, George (15 January 2020). "HEVC recruits new member to patent pool". IBC. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
- Ozer, jan (17 January 2020). "Balance of Power Shifts Among HEVC Patent Pools". Streaming Media. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
- "HEVC Advance 10k Patent Announcement". www.hevcadvance.com. Retrieved 2020-04-27.
- "Samsung joins HEVC Advance" (PDF) (Press release). 5 April 2017.
- "What will TV cost you? Putting a price on HEVC licences | IAM". www.iam-media.com. Retrieved 2020-04-27.
- "MPEG-LA HEVC Patent List" (PDF).
- Dan Rayburn (2016-02-03). "Technicolor withdraws from the HEVC Advance pool to enable direct licensing of its HEVC IP portfolio". GlobeNewswire. Retrieved 2016-02-04.
- Joff Wild (2016-05-16). "Technicolor CIPO explains why the company left the HEVC Advance patent pool". Retrieved 2016-05-18.
- "HEVC Advance Recognizes Technicolor's Participation". PR Newswire. HEVC Advance. February 3, 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
- "Technicolor Agrees to Sell to InterDigital its Patent Licensing Business". www.technicolor.com. Retrieved 2020-04-27.