Dear eBay: You Can't Skype This


The case puts quite a wrinkle in eBay's plans to sell Skype for $1.9 billion to a consortium of investors that include Silver Lake Partners, Andreessen Horowitz and Index Ventures. The lawsuit includes an injunction against the group to halt to the sale.

Skype founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom sold their company to eBay in 2006 for $3.1 billion, but they held on to the rights of source code for the popular P2P service. Subsequently, Friis and Zennstrom formed the company Joltid.

However, Joltid later withdrew its license, accusing eBay of making unauthorized code modifications and selling the software to third parties without the company's consent.

The damages, Joltid said in a statement, are substantial. According to the statement, eBay's breach of copyright is causing the company to bleed $75 million a day in damages caused by the unauthorized use of 100,000 daily users in the U.S.

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"The Skype companies have continued to infringe Joltid's copyrighted works on a massive scale," the company said in its lawsuit, according to Reuters. "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."

In response, eBay said in a statement that Joltid's "allegations and claims are without merit and are founded on fundamental legal and factual errors."

In March, Joltid brought suit against eBay in the U.K. claiming similar infringement. The case is expected to head to trial sometime next year.