Just two years after its October 2008 launch, daily deal website Groupon had amassed approximately 35 million registered users across 250 global markets. Business growth plateaued and ultimately receded over the next two years, however, prompting the firing of founder and CEO Andrew Mason this past February. But prior to his departure, Mason was able to make some telling investments in the company's patent portfolio.
A relative lack of intellectual assets was once cited as a competitive disadvantage for Groupon, according to Crain's Chicago Business, but Mason's moves led to the issuance of two new patents regarding the online group-buying method as well as the acquisition of several ecommerce patents from Priceline.com founder Jay Walker.
As it stands, Groupon now holds 25 patents with another 13 applications pending approval.
"Groupon's not a teenager anymore. They're adults and they're addressing the situation," Ocean Tomo CEO James Malackowski told the news source. "The good news is they were smart enough to go out and buy some (intellectual property)."
Defensive patent strategies could play a key role, according to Crain's, as Groupon begins to frame itself as more of a technology company. In the short term, however, things are already looking up as Groupon's stock price continues to climb and its service mix expands to incorporate such offerings as a mobile point-of-sale application for merchants.