The xHE-AAC Trademark Program

Fraunhofer licenses its "xHE-AAC®" trademark, registered in Germany, the United States, and other countries, without charge for use on software and hardware products that encode or decode xHE-AAC bitstreams and pass the tests of Fraunhofer’s xHE-AAC test service. The goal of the Trademark Program is to ensure that the applicable MPEG standards related to the xHE-AAC codec are correctly implemented in products bearing the xHE-AAC trademark.

Note that these tests are not exhaustive due to the complexities of the codec and may be updated from time to time. Test results must be no more than 90 days old to be eligible for a license.

Testing products

Products must be tested using the genuine xHE-AAC test service available exclusively here.

Encoding products

Encoders are tested by encoding the wav files downloaded from the test service and then uploading the resulting bitstreams to the test service.

Decoder Libraries, Application Frameworks, Operating Systems

The output of decoders or operating system functions or libraries can be tested by inputting the bitstreams from the test suite downloaded from the test service, and capturing the output to a wav file. The resulting wav files can then be uploaded to the test service for analysis.

End-user Applications or Hardware Products

Testing procedures for these products are currently under development. Please contact Fraunhofer for information.

Obtaining a license

You should perform a test run with the name and version of your product listed as "suite identifier" in the test, and check the box that says "I agree that in case of a successful test run, an e-mail with the result will be sent to Fraunhofer IIS."

Once your product has been successfully tested, please contact us within 90 days, providing a copy of your test results, your full legal entity name and physical address, and the details of your technical and legal contacts.  Fraunhofer will then contact you to complete a license agreement.

Questions and Answers about the Program

Is there any charge for testing or licensing the trademark?


Can I say my product is "Fraunhofer Certified?"

No, all tests are conducted by manufacturers and users themselves and in no event is a manufacturer or user permitted to claim or imply any approval or endorsement of its products by Fraunhofer. Manufacturers or users also may not give the impression that Fraunhofer is in in any way responsible for the performance of the products. Furthermore, tests are performed by you, not Fraunhofer; thus, you may not say that Fraunhofer tested your product. Your license with Fraunhofer provides acceptable phrasing to be used to describe your product’s compliance with the xHE-AAC testing program.   

Can I say my product encodes or decodes xHE-AAC without a license from Fraunhofer?

No. The xHE-AAC trademark is owned and registered by Fraunhofer and cannot be used without a valid license from Fraunhofer. The intent of the program is to ensure only tested products are eligible for a license and thus can use the xHE-AAC trademark.

Can I test a product for another company?

Only if you are working as a consultant, contractor, or agent on their behalf. Every manufacturer must test their own products and receive a separate license.

If I change the product, do I have to re-test it?

If the change affects the xHE-AAC encoding or decoding, or any of the related audio processing operations, yes. If it is a change to another part of the product, or if there is uncertainty about a change, please contact Fraunhofer.

I’m just using the Fraunhofer FDK code, can’t I say my product decodes xHE-AAC?

No. Although the Fraunhofer FDK decoder in Android is a xHE-AAC decoder, your product that includes the FDK decoder has more than just the FDK library, and thus would need to be tested and licensed.

I am making content using an xHE-AAC encoder; do I need a license to label my audio as xHE-AAC?

No, the license is for software libraries, application frameworks, operating systems, or end-user hardware or software products that perform xHE-AAC encoding or decoding. As long as your content actually comes from a genuine xHE-AAC encoder, you may use "xHE-AAC" when referring to it .

How can I verify an encoder or decoder is legitimately using the xHE-AAC trademark?

If you have concerns, please contact us.

What exactly is xHE-AAC?

The MPEG-D USAC standard (ISO/IEC 23003-3) defines the Extended High Efficiency AAC profile, which contains all of the tools of the HE-AAC v2 profile plus the mono/stereo capabilities of the Baseline USAC profile. Fraunhofer has defined the xHE-AAC codec as the combination of the Extended High Efficiency AAC profile and appropriate parts of the MPEG-D DRC Loudness Control Profile or Dynamic Range Control Profile.

Will xHE-AAC play on existing decoders and devices?

While xHE-AAC decoders will be able to decode the bit streams created for profiles of the previous members of the AAC family, xHE-AAC encoders are typically intended for encoding using the MPEG-D USAC audio object type (AOT 42) with MPEG-D DRC loudness metadata, though some may support encoding legacy AAC object types as wellLegacy AAC decoders built before xHE-AAC was developed can't decode the USAC or AOT 42 bitstreams.

This is one reason Fraunhofer has established this program - any xHE-AAC encoder will be able to make an xHE-AAC bitstream that will play back correctly on any xHE-AAC decoder.