Posted April 20, 2010 8:42 am by with 3 comments

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One day you’re up, the next day you’re down.

Just yesterday, we were gushing over the rapid rise of online coupon provider Groupon. Frank pointed out that Groupon had managed to achieve a $1 billion valuation, despite the many copycats in the marketplace.

Well, one of those copycats is not prepared to go quietly into the night.

According to GigaOm, Tippr picked up a boatload of patents that could put a serious dampener on Groupon’s capital raising efforts.

[Tippr CEO Martin Tobias] saw the rise of Groupon. He happened to know that Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who’d invested something like $90 million in the failed Groupon of the late ’90s, Mercata, still owned that company’s patents.

In exchange for equity in Tippr, Tobias picked up 12 patents which cover everything from “Attaining product inventory groupings for sales in a group-buying environment” to “Demand aggregation through online buying groups.”

Of course, Tobias is quick to distance himself from any speculation that he’ll use the patents for anything other than as a “defensive weapon,” but simply owning the patents puts Tippr in an offensive stance. A stance that all of a sudden doesn’t quite make Groupon look so golden.

Will we see a patent infringement suit from Tippr? Perhaps, but certainly that will come AFTER Groupon earns its $1 billion valuation. And it may not even come until Groupon is either acquired by [fill in the blank] or files for an IPO.

  • Blastmaster

    Saw this video on group buying last night and neither groupon or tippr were featured:

  • Thanks for sharing Blastmaster – and thanks Andy for the post. Tippr will be up and running in New York next month, so keep an eye out for us on WCBS NY. As Andy noted, Tippr owns the strongest IP in group buying, and Tippr’s patented technology platform is powering the best group buying experience available, both for consumers and participating businesses. For more info, check out

    • Martin Tobias, CEO of Tippr is a joke…his arrogant approach is a joke. he’s a patent troll and everyone knows it. Homewrecker will finish last.