There’s an interesting post today on the Groupon Blog, written by CEO Andrew Mason, about a lawsuit filed in Australia concerning a ccTLD and trademark issue.
The blog post discusses how the founders of an Australian Groupon “clone,” known as Scoopon, registered the Australian ccTLD, Groupon.com.au. In addition, the company filed for an Australian trademark on the term “Groupon” about a week prior to the US-based company’s own filing.
Mason discussed how this seemingly risky endeavor almost paid off handsomely for the domain and trademark registrants:
“As Groupon became internationally known, opportunistic domain squatters around the world started to buy local Groupon domain names, thinking that we’d eventually be forced to buy them at an insane price. In fact, we tried to do just that, reluctantly offering Gabby and Hezi Leibovich about $286,000 for the Groupon.com.au domain and trademark—an offer they accepted.“
Allegedly, Gabby and Hezi Leibovich later backed out of the deal in an apparent attempt to get the company to buy their entire Scoopon company. As a result, Groupon was forced to file a lawsuit in Australia.
Interestingly enough, Groupon is trying to use the power of group persuasion to get the domain owners to sell for the $286,000 offer. Mason is asking people to join the “Groupon in Australia” Facebook group to post a message on the wall encouraging Gabby and Hezi Leibovich to sell.