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Skype Founders File Copyright Suit Against eBay

Publication Date: 
September 17, 2009
Source: 
The New York Times
Author: 
Brad Stone

Brad Stone talked to Professor Michael Klausner about the impact of the Skype lawsuit on the sale of the company:

The founders of Skype are escalating their legal battle with eBay.

Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, who became billionaires after selling Skype to eBay in 2005, filed a copyright lawsuit on Wednesday against Skype in the United States District Court of Northern California. The suit comes a little more than two weeks after eBay announced it would sell most of Skype for $1.9 billion to a consortium of investors led by the private equity firm Silver Lake Partners.

In the court filing, Joltid, a company owned by the Skype founders, claims that eBay violated copyright law by altering and sharing the peer-to-peer source code behind the free Internet calling service. The Skype founders maintained ownership of that source code after selling Skype to eBay in 2005, and licensed it to eBay.

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“Litigation often will delay a deal, and there is often a lot of pressure on companies to settle litigation in advance of a deal,” said Michael Klausner, a professor at Stanford Law School.