Skype Sale in Doubt as Founders Sue eBay

Techies alleges copyright violation costing them $75M a day
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2009 6:34 AM CDT
Last week eBay announced it was selling Skype to a group of investors for $2 billion, four years after it purchased the company for far more.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – The founders of Skype are suing eBay and the investor consortium buying the Internet phone company, accusing them of copyright violation, reports the Wall Street Journal. The suit is only the latest bump in eBay's disastrous ownership of Skype and may complicate the planned $2 billion sale. Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom allege that their new company, Joltid, owns a peer-to-peer technology that is also used in Skype's software and claims it is suffering damages "of more than $75 million daily."

The suit says Skype's license for the global index software was terminated in March, and that Skype used it "in manners unauthorized by Joltid," making it available to third parties and copying and altering it. The suit may derail the recently brokered acquisition; it also names as defendants all of Skype's would-be purchasers, including Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital firm founded by the inventor of Netscape.