Luxembourg’s Via Vadis has been pursuing patent infringement litigation again VoIP giant Skype in Europe for a while, but now that Skype is being acquired by Microsoft in an $8.5 billion deal the company is bringing its case to the United States: Via Vadis is suing Skype for patent infringement in the U.S. District of Delaware. The papers were apparently filed the same day Microsoft announced it had reached a deal to acquire Skype.
Via Vadis’ case is based on two patents released to accessing and managing data—U.S. patent 7,904,680 and U.S. RE40,521. Although the names sound innocuous, the patents seem to strike near the heart of the peer-to-peer technology that underpins Skype’s service.
Via Vadis has also filed similar suits this year in Germany, Luxembourg, and Japan , citing EP 1,151,591. In the Luxembourg case, the court issued a discovery over to inspect Skype’s offices in that country; however, Skype has appealed the ruling and refused to cooperate.
Skype has said only that it cannot comment on pending litigation. it is worth noting that Skype has successful fended off patent infringement allegations in the past, and that the patent filings in question seem to have been made in 2005, long after some version of Skype’s peer-to-peer technology would have been up and running. It’s not clear whether Via Vadis is asserting that the patents in question apply to technology Skype has deployed since.