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The company recently announced the launch of Groupon India, Groupon Israel and Groupon South Africa via acquisitions of similar daily-deal sites in those countries, namely SoSasta, Grouper, and Twangoo.
Twangoo, the South African acquisition, will most likely be tasked with sorting the legal issue out.
As the image above illustrates, the domain name was registered on the 8th of September, 2009 for the price of R50.00 by a company called East of Eden Trading, trading as Wicount.
Groupon has encountered this problem before, most recently in Australia, as it continues its rapid global expansion.
Writing on its blog, the company explains, “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 Australia, a company called Scoopon “actually purchased the Groupon.com.au domain name, took the company name Groupon Pty Limited, and tried to register the Groupon trademark (filing for the trademark just seven days before us) in Australia”.
Despite this blatant case of cyber-squatting, Groupon were willing to offer US$286 000 to the owners of Scoopon for the domain name and trademark. The owners first accepted, then rejected the deal and a court case looks set to drag on for a full year.