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Brand Coupon Network v. Coupon Network

Have you ever heard of the Brand Coupon Network? Probably not. Ever heard of Coupon Network? If you’re a printable coupon fan, you most likely have.

And that’s the basis of a lawsuit that accuses Coupon Network of stealing the similarly-sounding company’s name, idea and business. And the Brand Coupon Network wants it all back.

The Brand Coupon Network is now appealing a lower court decision that found in favor of Coupon Network’s parent company, Catalina Marketing. The appeal continues the plaintiff’s years-long effort to hold the defendant responsible for “stealing its identity, customers and/or ideas.”

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It all started back in 2010. At that time, Brand Coupon Network had been in business for six years, developing printable coupon technology for marketers. CEO and founder Daniel Abraham also served on the board of directors for the Association of Coupon Professionals industry trade group. In that capacity, he said, he held meetings with representatives from Catalina, and “shared with them confidential information relative to the internet coupon industry and Brand Coupon Networks’ strategies and business plans.”

And, lo and behold, just days later, Coupon Network was born. “Catalina, who had previously been engaged only in the print coupon business,” Brand Coupon Network complained, “suddenly entered the internet coupon business and did so under the remarkably similar name of CouponNetwork.com.”

Brand Coupon Network demanded that Catalina cease and desist. Catalina refused, so Brand Coupon Network eventually sued in July 2011.

More than a year later, in September 2012, a federal judge dismissed the case. First of all, he ruled, under state law, Brand Coupon Network waited too long to sue. Secondly, the lawsuit’s claim that Catalina infringed on a “trade secret” didn’t hold water, since Abraham was the one who blabbed about his business. Proving a trade secret violation, the judge ruled, assumes that “the plaintiff made reasonable efforts to maintain the secrecy of its alleged secret.”

So Coupon Network continues to offer plentiful printable coupons, while Brand Coupon Network continues along in relative obscurity. It hopes to change that, by winning its appeal. But then there’s also a Grocery Coupon Network, Family Coupon Network, Your Coupon Network, The Local Coupon Network, etc., etc. Forget coupons, then – if the Brand Coupon Network ultimately wins its case against Catalina, there just might be more money to be made in court than in coupons.

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