Skype Tech Licensing Soap Opera Continues: Founders Sue eBay, New Buyers For Copyright Infringement

from the someone-screwed-up-big-time dept

Over the summer, we wrote about the bizarre and protracted legal dispute concerning whether or not eBay actually had the rights to the core technology in Skype. Skype's founders, Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, claim that they retained the right to the core technology in a separate company called Joltid, and that they terminated eBay's license to that technology. There's a legal battle already underway about that, but apparently that's not enough, as Joltid has now filed a separate copyright infringement lawsuit against eBay and the list of investors who recently bought out a big chunk of Skype from eBay. The thing that still amazes me is that pretty much everyone realized right away that it made no sense for eBay to buy Skype. That was a bad idea from the very beginning. But finding out that the purchase price didn't even include the core technology, and that Joltid had the ability to revoke the license, makes the purchase almost monumentally bad.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    drewmerc (profile), Sep 17th, 2009 @ 2:31am

    so Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom made the best deal ever and should be congratulated, scamming the scammer's at ebay
    this beats any 419 baiter's exploits

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Psychosomatic, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 2:56am

    Yes, but

    It is ultimately the users of Skype that will pay for this. Lots of folk use this to connect with each other; these guys have already won financially and if Skype folds their victory will be Pyhrric at best. And disastrous for Skype users.

    You've already won the game, is there any point to going home with your bat and ball now?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Chargone (profile), Sep 17th, 2009 @ 3:35am

    Re: Yes, but

    because the game's over? :P

    sorry, not helpful, i know. but amusing none the less.

    [taking dodgy analogies and running with them can be funny :)]

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Michael Kohne, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 4:06am

    I wonder...

    It seems more than a little odd that Ebay's lawyers would allow a deal to go through where they either didn't own, or didn't have a perpetual license to the core tech in the deal. I really have to wonder what's written down for that one.

    I have to say that the original deal was a completely stupid one - WTF does Ebay need a phone service for? But I can't quite believe they were stupid enough to get caught out like this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 4:09am

    I avoid Skype like the plague. If it folds, I'll be happy. I'd much rather see some Open Source clone become dominant.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 5:52am

    RE: I wonder...

    I would guess they did have some sort of perpetual license based on the fact that Joltid had to declare that Skype was in breach of that license before they terminated it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Dustin, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 9:23am

    Re: RE: I wonder...

    True and IF it turns out that eBay did, in fact, acquire unauthorized versions of the source code, make unauthorized modifications, and disclose the software to third persons I say good on the Joltid guys.

    If their allegations are true eBay made a bad deal (and probably paid less initially for it), tried to commit corporate espionage to get around it, got caught, and had their hat handed to them.

    It'll suck if this leads to the downfall of Skype, but eBay will have it coming and deserves the blame.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    teknosapien (profile), Sep 17th, 2009 @ 9:12pm

    wonder if

    Ebay every gave one of these guys a bad rating or shut their account down and kept the cash

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    philbaker, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 7:28am

    EBay genius

    And what genius perpetrated this purchase of Skype? Meg Whitman who now is running for governor of California. Well suited for solving CA's financial problems.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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