Skype Avoids Antitrust Suit in Settlement With IDT

Three weeks ago, telecommunications company IDT Corp. filed a civil antitrust complaint against eBay and Skype, but the companies, which have also been in a patent dispute since 2006, have now settled all their differences.

On Thursday, eBay, Skype, IDT Corp., Net2Phone and Union Telecard Alliance announced they have settled all outstanding disputes. Union Telecard and Net2Phone are affiliated with IDT.

The companies did not disclose the terms of the deal.

In the original 2006 lawsuit, Net2Phone sued eBay and Skype, which eBay fully owned at the time, alleging patent infringement. The relevant patent, which Net2Phone obtained in 2000, covered creating a communications link between two devices using Internet Protocol.

The companies have been battling it out in court ever since. But on July 13, IDT filed a civil antitrust suit against eBay and Skype in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas. The full complaint is not available online. However, the cover sheet describes the cause of action as conspiracy to monopolize, monopolization and attempted monopolization.

In addition, the court's stipulation of dismissal of the case says that the complaint alleged four causes of action under the section of the U.S. trade code that includes unfair methods of competition.

Just three weeks later, the companies appear to have settled all their differences.

In a statement, IDT referred to two patent infringement suits in the Arkansas court, although a search of the Arkansas court records shows only one. Court documents show that the companies have agreed to settle the antitrust and patent disputes.

EBay, Skype and IDT did not reply to requests for comment.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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