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Skype Founders Sue Themselves. Sort Of.

Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis are suing the new owners of Skype.

The irony here is that Zennstrom and Friis co-founded Skype, the peer-to-peer VoIP company eBay bought in 2005 for $3.1 billion and is now selling for $1.9 billion. That deal could be jeopardized because of the lawsuit.

Zennstrom and Friis say eBay and Skype’s new investors – who will own 65 percent of Skype while eBay retains a 35 percent share – are violating copyright law. They allege Skype users in the United States are infringing on copyrights held by another of their companies, peer-to-peer software firm Joltid. Zennstrom and Friis want damages that could add up to more than $75 million daily, according to the lawsuit filed in a U.S. District Court in Northern California.

eBay is refuting the Skype founders’ claims, even though it has previously said it’s developing its own software to replace the intellectual property it receives from Joltid.


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