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Skype founders launch another lawsuit against eBay

Another example on why our intellectual properties legal system is broken. It is simply ridiculous that someone found a technology company, sell it to pocket billions of dollars, then sue the new owner infringe his copyright.

John Walko – EE Times

LONDON — The founders of Skype, Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, have sued owner eBay and an investor group that last month said it would buy the net-based phone and messaging service, accusing them of copyright violation.

The move could disrupt the $1.9 billion deal.

The lawsuit was filed in Northern California U.S. District Court by the founders’ holding company, Joltid Ltd, and seeks a permanent injunction against Skype and damages.

EBay has denied the allegations.

The suit says Skype used its technology without authorization. It comes as a related lawsuit and counter-claim in the U.K between e-Bay and Joltid over a software licensing agreement between the parties, that Joltid was seeking to terminate, nears a court hearing.

Joltid brought a counterclaim, reiterating that it holds the rights to the peer-to-peer technology and that Skype is in violation of the original agreement.

“The Skype companies have continued to infringe Joltids copyrighted works on a massive scale, the latest, U.S. lawsuit said. “Each day that the Skype Companies continue to make available its Internet telephone software for download, Skype users download Joltid’s copyrighted works approximately six times per second,” the claim suggests.

Ebay licenses peer-to-peer technology from Joltid for Skype, but is understood to have started developing its own alternative software given the uncertain outcome of pending litigation with Joltid.

“Their allegations and claims are without merit and are founded on fundamental legal and factual errors,” eBay said in a statement.

Last month, ebay agreed to sell a 65 percent stake in Skype for $1.9 billion to a consortium including Netscape founder Marc Andreessen’s Andreessen Horowitz, venture firm Index Ventures, private equity firm Silver Lake, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

2 comments to Skype founders launch another lawsuit against eBay

  • i agree that the ip legal system is broken, but in this case i blame ebay’s executive team and lawyers. it boggles the mind that these ppl will sign off on a billion dollar deal without a water tight agreement on the core IP. and meg whitman is now claiming that her business expertise means that she’s best placed to run california!???