Fabian Toader of Redmond, Wash., filed a lawsuit against Sharman in federal court this week claiming that he wrote the code for the file-sharing program that has not only made Kazaa a household name, but has also made Sharman untold amounts of money.
So far, Sharman is disputing Toader's claim and says that the terms of Toader's employment agreement automatically granted the rights of his work to the company.
"Sharman has made millions using my software," Toader said in a statement. "I just want to be fairly compensated for my contribution."
Toader, a native Romanian, is now employed as a programmer for Microsoft Corp. He claims in court papers that he wrote the code in 2000 as a freelancer for Kazaa B.V., which was later bought by Sharman Networks.
Toader alleges that both Sharman and Kazaa B.V. never had him sign a contract, and according to U.S. and Romanian copyright laws, he is the official holder of the Kazaa software copyright.
Toader is reportedly seeking $25 million in damages.