At the beginning of the month, eBay announced that they would be selling Skype to several buyers. The buyers included Silver Lake, Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. That sale has been interrupted not by Kanye West, but by the founders of Joost and Skype.
The founders of Joost and Skype started another company called Joltid. Joltid is suing eBay on the basis that Skype is infringing on their technology at least $100,000 times per day. eBay denies the allegations. But Joltid co-founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom says that their company holds the intellectual property rights to VoIP applications including Skype. Joltid filed the lawsuit against eBay two weeks after the announcement was made that Skype would be sold to the aforementioned buyers.
Today another lawsuit was filed by the Joltid, Skype, and Joost co-founders. Zennstrom and Friis filed a lawsuit against former Joost CEO and Chairman Mike Volpi along with venture capital firm Index Ventures. The lawsuit states that there has been a breach of “fiduciary duty against Volpi, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty against Index, interference with prospective business advantage, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract against Index, breach of confidence, and civil conspiracy.” Volpi had recently quit Joost to join Index Ventures back in July.
Between Index being sued and wanting to buy Skype from eBay, that company is up the creek made out of you know what with no oar. I also think it is safe to say that Friis and and Zennström don’t want to see Index own the company that they built and sold to eBay. Who knows? Maybe the purchase of Skype might be too much of a headache and might the transaction may be aborted. But all the buyers involved have already come to far and won’t go down without a fight.