Skype founders take eBay to court

The original founders of online telephony service Skype have filed a lawsuit against eBay, and an investment group who recently agreed to buy the service, seeking millions of dollars in damages for unlicensed use of a network technology they own.

This latest lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction against Skype, as well as damages which the pair believe are increasing at a rate of more than $75 million a day.

Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis founded Skype in 2003 before selling it to eBay in 2005 for $2.6 billion. eBay recently agreed to sell a 65 percent stake in Skype for $1.9 billion to a consortium of investors.

The disagreement is over a piece of technology called "Global Index", which is responsible for some of the peer-to-peer sharing systems that run Skype. When eBay bought Skype in 2005, it decided not to purchase Global Index, instead opting to license it from Joltid, a separate company started by Zennstrom and Friis in 2002.

The pair allege that when they left Skype in 2007, eBay began to alter the code used in Global Index, breaching the license agreement. eBay however, have denied the allegations, stating "Their allegations and claims are without merit and are founded on fundamental legal and factual errors."

The case has not only cast doubts over the sale of Skype, but the service itself, with eBay admitting that without Global Index, Skype could no longer function.

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