Skype founders to sue eBay for $75m a day

The founders of Skype are suing eBay and the investment group which is purchasing part of the company. Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom have filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction to prevent Skype from using some of the peer to peer technology on which its service relies. eBay had licensed this from Joltid, a UK company started by Friis and Zennstrom in 2002, rather than purchasing it along with Skype in 2005, but earlier this year, Joltid decided not to renew eBay’s license.

The suit seeks an injunction to stop the use of the allegedly-unlicensed techology, plus statutory damages, which it calculates at an amazing $75 million per day. eBay has already said it is working on replacement technology – though in a necessarily cautious filing with the SEC, the company commented that the development work might not be successful and “will in any event be expensive”. Not perhaps as expensive as the damages claim, which could derail eBay’s sale of 65% of Skype to a group of investment companies. An eBay spokesman told the NYT that the suit was “without merit” and the deal remained on track to be concluded in the fourth quarter of this year.