Clash of the coupons

Groupon accuses Australian competitor of domain-name squatting

Groupon, the daily-deal website that just turned down a US$5.3-billion buyout offer from Google, has had nothing but success in dozens of countries around the world—but things are different in Australia. The company, which launched in 2008 and now operates in 37 countries, is postponing its formal launch in the outback because of another daily coupon company: Scoopon. According to Groupon CEO Andrew Mason’s blog, Scoopon tried to register Groupon’s trademark in Australia and bought the URL before his company had the chance.

Domain-name squatting has become a problem for Groupon, but the company offered to buy the address from Scoopon for US$286,000 anyway. Mason says the offer was initially accepted, then turned down, and that Scoopon’s founders are now hoping Groupon will buy them out. Instead, Groupon is suing Scoopon for filing the trademark in bad faith. Mason says it could take more than a year to resolve the suit, but that his company will still offer its daily discounts in Australia under the temporary name of Stardeals. In the meantime, the 30-year-old CEO is asking Australians to show their support by joining Groupon’s Facebook group and posting a note urging Scoopon to accept the $286,000 offer.

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