A company owned by the founders of Skype has filed a copyright suit against eBay and the investor group that has agreed to buy the internet telephony phone service.The company, Joltid, a Swedish firm owned by Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, says Skype used its technology without authorisation. The move could potentially disrupt the $1.9 bn sale of the internet telephony firm, which was agreed last month.
Filed in Northern California U.S. District Court this week, the latest suit seeks a permanent injunction against Skype and damages. EBay has denied the allegations. Joltid is claiming for damages at a rate of more than $75m a day.
“The Skype companies have continued to infringe Joltid’s copyrighted works on a massive scale,” the 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.”
Ebay licenses peer-to-peer technology from Joltid for Skype, but has begun to develop 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.
The Internet auction house said on Wednesday it remained on track to close the Skype transaction in the fourth quarter.
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.
A trial is expected to take place in early 2010 in the United Kingdom.