Closely held Tampa company Ewinwin Inc. is suing Groupon Inc., a daily coupon website with more than 35 million users, claiming Groupon is infringing on four patents related to a Web strategy that brings buyers together.
Ewinwin, which has been operating since 1999, maintains a site where businesses promote their products and set prices based on the number of customers who place orders. The four patents were issued in 2006, 2007, and March and April of this year.
The patent complaint is the second filed by a rival site against Chicago-based Groupon, which has expanded in two years to 300 markets with 2,600 employees and is negotiating a possible $6 billion purchase by Google. Ewinwin contends it's entitled to a share of the profits from the Groupon site.
For every sale made by Groupon, "Ewinwin suffers a further competitive disadvantage in that Groupon receives a substantial portion of said sale and illicitly builds customer loyalty and brand recognition notwithstanding the fact that Ewinwin entered the group-buying market 10 years prior to Groupon," Ewinwin said in the complaint, filed Wednesday in federal court in Tampa.
Groupon sends users daily messages offering discounts on products and services. It keeps 50 percent of every deal sold. Deals, known as groupons, activate when a certain number is sold.