They See Me Trollin'

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

Someone stop the patent troll madness.
patenttrolls final david saracino No Sooner Does Etsy Raise $40M Than Its Hit With a Dumb Patent Suit

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.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com

Comments

  1. […] become aggressive about suing promising young companies. In addition to Foursquare and BuzzFeed, Etsy and Hipmunk, were “mugged on payday” when they were hit with patent suits. This is the second […]

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  3. […] at the most vulnerable times, either right after they receive a major cash infusion — like Etsy and Hipmunk – or right after that startup announces that it is being […]