No Sooner Does Etsy Raise $40M Than It’s Hit With a Dumb Patent Suit

Someone stop the patent troll madness.

image from David_Saracino

Man, is there anything worse than getting mugged on payday? Just last week, Etsy announced a $40 million Series F with investors including Union Square Ventures and Accel Partners, a round that’ll help the company go global. But Unified Messaging Solutions–a subsidiary of the patent pitbulls over at Acacia Research Corporation–has other plans. GigaOm reports that firm has just filed a lawsuit accusing Etsy of infringing its patents on “methods for storing, delivering and managing messages.”

Sure it has, Unified Messaging Solutions. Sure it has.

But lest any artisanal bonnet-makers get the wrong idea about their beloved indie marketplace, there probably isn’t much substance to this suit. Tenuous charges of patent infringement are turning into a tech company rite of passage, and the organization behind the suit has already sued Facebook, Google, and a whole mess of other companies.

The suit says that Unified Messaging Solutions is seeking “injunctive relief as well as damages.” We’d bet an Eduardo Saverin-sized fortune they’d be willing to take a nice, fat settlement, though. Speculates GigaOm:

Unified Messaging Solutions likely decided to sue Etsy this month because the hand craft site now has investor money it can extract. Trolls typically try to force a settlement and then use the money to file new lawsuits against other targets. A recent academic study estimates patent trolls have cost the economy half a trillion dollars since 1990.

GigaOm also draws attention to perhaps the most entertaining example of questionable litigating since My Cousin Vinny: The plaintiff’s lawyers forgot at least once to fill Etsy’s name in the provided blank.

Adding insult to injury, Etsy also just got certified as a B Corporation, making official a commitment to good works. Where’s the love, karma?

We’ve reached out to Etsy for comment and will update if we hear anything more.

No Sooner Does Etsy Raise $40M Than It’s Hit With a Dumb Patent Suit