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Skype Founders File Copyright Suit Against eBay

Publication Date: 
September 17, 2009
The New York Times
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.


“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.