Groupon’s Patent Battles Persist, CEO Andrew Mason Moonlighting at Sushi Joint

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Donna Binbek

In an unusual reversal of the way this sentence usually goes, Groupon's 2010 assertion that Mobgob's patent on a "method of community purchasing through the Internet" was bunk has been upheld. On July 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a lower-court ruling that Mobgob's patent was invalid. This isn't the first time Mobgob and Groupon have locked horns. In fact, this dates back to a time when you could get Andrew Mason on the horn or email to comment on a story.

TechCrunch, in 2010, paraphrases Mason as saying "the reason they're suing MobGob is because they actually tried to patent-troll-sue Groupon first, under another name and with a patent that was issued at a later time than the patent-in-suit… In other words, he says they bought the patent for usage in lawsuits filed against them, not with the intention to sue other group buying services."

Perhaps part of the reason that Mason is so hard to get a hold of nowadays is that he's been working as a maître d' at a Wicker Park sushi restaurant. Yes, really. In a recent Bloomberg profile, Mason explains why he took the job: "[to] help him understand what makes local merchants tick—how they book reservations, accept payments, and manage inventory. It's all the stuff businesses do behind the scenes. It's also, he says, the future of Groupon."

The profile is a good read, if only because it's so bizarre to imagine the CEO of a major company working as the flight director of a sushi joint. (No, the restaurant isn't named.)

In other news, Groupon's stock is at $7.67. It's trending downwards, but is still higher than it was, slightly, towards the end of last week.

Now, who feels like sushi?

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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