Intellectual Property (IP) Policy
What is Intellectual Property?
Groupon’s policy requires that all Groupon Goods Marketplace merchants respect the intellectual property rights of any third party. Intellectual property (“IP”) includes brand names, logos, images, or text appearing on products, on or as part of product packaging, or as part of the product listing. Each Groupon Goods Marketplace merchant is solely responsible for ensuring that the products it sells, as well as the images and product listing text provided by the merchant for the products it sells, do not infringe any third party's IP rights. If you have questions regarding intellectual property rights, it is advisable to seek legal advice.
There are 3 primary types of Intellectual Property:
Copyrights: Copyrights protect original works of authorship, including literature, drama, music, video, photography, architecture, and computer software.
Trademarks: Trademarks protect words, phrases, designs, and/or symbols that identify the source of a company’s goods or services.
Patents: Patents protect inventions. There are 3 different types of patents: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents.
Copyrights / Use of Images and Text
Marketplace merchants may only use images in a product listing that they have taken themselves or have authorization to use. Marketplace merchants should maintain ownership records that confirm ownership of IP rights or authorization to use them, including relevant license agreements.
Merchants may not use any images that the merchant does not have the right to use, including any images that have been taken from any websites or blogs. Further, merchants may not steal, take or copy images from any other merchant or the brand owner. Any images from third parties, including brand owners and stock image galleries, must be properly licensed for commercial use.
Images must accurately represent the actual product and show only the product that is for sale, with minimal or no propping. The images must not depict a product that is not the actual product being offered for sale.
Marketplace merchants are also required to create the text found in each product listing. Merchants may not use text found on the Internet (e.g., blogs, websites, other merchants’ product listings), in product manuals, or any text written by a third party, without the express authorization from the respective copyright owner(s).
Trademarks and Logos
Marketplace merchants may only use trademarks and logos that they own or have authorization to use from the brand owner. Merchants may only use trademarks that identify the product being sold (e.g., using the trademark Yeti to identify the sale of Yeti-brand coolers or insulated drink containers). Marketplace merchants may not use trademarks or logos that are not associated with the product being offered for sale. For example, merchants may not use the Yeti trademark in a product listing for another brand of coolers or insulated drink containers. Likewise, merchants may not use other companies’ trademarks for comparison purposes (e.g., Yeti coolers are far superior to Coleman coolers).
If a marketplace merchant is selling a product that is compatible with another product (e.g., toothbrush heads that are compatible with major brand electric toothbrushes), the merchant may only use the trademark associated with the other product sparingly, solely for the purpose of clarifying that the product offered for sale is “compatible with” the other product. The merchant must also clearly identify that they are not associated with the company that sells the branded product with which the merchant’s product is compatible. For example, if the merchant is selling water filters that are compatible with Whirlpool refrigerators, the merchant may only use the terms “compatible with Whirlpool refrigerators” in the product description section of the product listing and in a parenthetical at the end of the listing title.
Check out the United States Patent and Trademark Office website for more information regarding trademarks.
The USPTO provides a Trademark Electronic Search System to search for registered trademarks. There may be trademarks that are not in the database, however, therefore it is important to check other sources, such as state trademark databases and the internet.
It is each merchant's responsibility to ensure they are legally authorized to sell every SKU they list on Groupon Goods Marketplace. Marketplace merchants are prohibited from selling counterfeit goods or falsely identifying goods as being genuine in the product listing, when, in fact, they are not. Marketplace merchants are responsible for ensuring that the goods they sell through Groupon are genuine and not counterfeit goods and that they are being appropriately and truthfully advertised to consumers. Counterfeit goods include both products that bear trademarks that are not authentic and product listings that advertise a brand name product when the product being shipped to consumers is a different branded or unbranded product. If the Marketplace merchant receives a complaint about a product being counterfeit, the Marketplace merchant must immediately inform Groupon and simultaneously remove the product from the Groupon Goods Marketplace while the merchant investigates the complaint. Further, Groupon reserves the right to remove the product from the Groupon Goods Marketplace until the merchant reaches resolution with the rights owner.
Marketplace merchants are also required to only sell products that they are authorized to resell in the United States. If a product was meant to be sold in a different country and the product has been materially altered or is materially different from those offered in the United States, it cannot be offered for sale in the Groupon Goods Marketplace. If the product has not been materially altered but still includes some differences that a consumer would want to know prior to purchase, the merchant must describe the differences in the product description. For instance, if the product’s instruction manual is in Portuguese rather than English, or if the warranty is void in the United States, these facts would need to be disclosed to the consumer in the product listing above the fold.
Right of Publicity, Celebrities and Pop Culture
Marketplace merchants may not reference or depict celebrities, movies to which the merchant does not have licensing rights or other references to pop culture in any product listing. Similarly, Marketplace merchants may not use any catchy slogans or quotes in the product listing without prior authorization from Groupon’s legal team.