Monday, April 20, 2009

Eyes Wide Open

There seems to be some major outrage about the IPR issues surrounding Skype, but I'm happy to say that I reported on this way back in 2006 - as always, read the fine print...

As I quoted at the time:

In November 2003, Skype signed an agreement with a software development company [could this be the one?] which granted Skype a perpetual non exclusive license on its software, with exclusive use of the software for the limited purpose of providing P2P telephony, multi-directional video communications between end users via the internet. The founders of this software company are also founding shareholders (and senior management) of Skype.

The Joltid license is something I have mentioned frequently in presentations, but it has always seemed to me that no one has ever heard about this before, and people have always reacted with astonished expressions. The 2003 - 2005 Skype filings are still up, by the way, you can find them here.

I've always assumed that beyond the long-term commercial rationale for housing the Fast Track IPR in another company, it was also a shrewd defensive move given the legal onslaught against KaZaA at the time. It still doesn't answer the question as to what eBay management were thinking (or smoking) at the time, but it's clear that they felt a $4.1bn level of comfort with the arrangement.

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