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San Francisco Comprehensive Tours v. Groupon complaint

San Francisco Comprehensive Tours v. Groupon complaint

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Published by Eric Goldman

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Published by: Eric Goldman on Mar 23, 2011
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03/23/2011

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SanFranciscoComprehensiveTours,LLCv.Groupon,Incorporated
UNITEDSTATESDISTRICTCOURTNORTHERNDISTRICTOFCALIFORNIA
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1.ThisisanactioninwhichPlaintiffSanFranciscoComprehensiveToursseeksDILLINGHAM
&
MURPHY,LLP1WILLIAMF.MURPHY(StateBarNo.82482)2ANGELR.SEVILLA(StateBarNo.239072)225BushStreet,6thFloorSanFrancisco,California94104-42073Telephone:(415)397-2700Facsimile:(415)397-33004AttorneysForPlaintiffSanFranciscoComprehensiveTours,LLCSANFRANCISCOCOMPREHENSIVETOURS,LLCdbaSANFRANCISCO.SHUTTLETOURS,LLCandWINECOUNTRYTOURSHUTTLE,
,
E-filing
CASENO.
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1415161718PlaintiffSANFRANCISCOCOMPREHENSIVETOURS,LLCdbaSANFRANCISCO19SHUTTLETOURSandWINECOUNTRYTOURSHUTTLE("SanFranciscoComprehensivePlaintiff,
V.
GROUPON,INCORPORATEDANDDOES1-20,INCLUSIVE,Defendants.20Tours"or"Plaintiff")assertsthefollowingclaims:22injunctive(andother)relieftostopandtopreventfalseandmisleadingbusinessandadvertisingacts23andpractices,essentially"baitandswitch"advertising,employedonGoogle.combydefendant24GROUPON,INCORPORATED("Groupon"or"Defendant").
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COMPLAINTFORINJUNCTIVERELIEFANDDAMAGES[JURYTRIALDEMANDED]
2.
JURIDICTIONANDVENUE
Dockets.Justia.com
PlaintiffSANFRANCISCOCOMPREHENSIVETOURS,LLC,dbaSanFrancisco27ShuttleToursanddbaWineCountryTourShuttle,isaCalifornialimitedliabilitycompany.San28FranciscoComprehensiveTours'principalplaceofbusinessisinSanFrancisco,California.
Page1-CaseNo.ComplaintforInjunctiveReliefandDamages
 
1
7.
PlaintiffSanFranciscoComprehensiveToursisinformedandbelievesandonthat
3.
Plaintiffisinformedandbelievesandonthatbasisallegesandaversthatdefendant2GrouponisincorporatedintheStateofDeleware,andhasitsprincipalplaceofbusinessinChicago,3Illinois.4
4.
ThisCourthassubjectmatterjurisdictionoverthisactionbasedonfederalquestion5jurisdiction,withoutregardtotheamountincontroversy,pursuantto28U.S.C.
§
1331inthat6PlaintiffSanFranciscoComprehensiveToursassertsaclaimforfalseadvertisingbydefendant7GrouponundertheLanhamAct,15U.S.C.Section1125(a)(l)(B).ThisCourtalso
has
subject8matterjurisdictionoverthisactionpursuantto28U.S.C.Section1332,inthatPlaintiffSan9.FranciscoComprehensiveToursisdeemedtobeacitizenoftheStateofCaliforniabecauseitis10incorporatedinandhasitsprincipalplaceofbusinessintheStateofCalifornia,anddefendant11GrouponisdeemedtobeacitizenofitsStateofincorporation(whichisaStateotherthan12California)andacitizenoftheStateofIllinois,whereithasitsprincipalplaceofbusiness.The13amountincontroversyinthisaction,exclusiveininterestandcosts,exceeds$75,000.00.14
5.
VenueofthisactionisproperinthisCourtinthattheinjurytoPlaintiff'sbusiness15causedbyDefendant'swrongfulconductoccurredandcontinuestooccurinthisjudicialdistrict,16andisalsoproperinthisCourtbecauseDefendant'sliabilitytoPlaintiffSanFrancisco17ComprehensiveToursaroseandcontinuestoariseinthisjudicialdistrict.
18THEPARTIES
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PlaintiffSanFranciscoComprehensiveTourshasbeenofferingtoursofSan20Francisco,JohnMuirWoods,andtheNorthernCaliforniaWineCountrysinceitsinceptionin2005.21Tothe
best
ofitsknowledge,itistheonlySanFranciscocitytourservicecombiningabustour,22shortguidedwalkingtours,andaFerrylBaycruisetoSausalito.Unlikeothertourcompanies,San23FranciscoComprehensiveTours'marketingstrategyisalmostentirelydependentontheinternet,24andtheabilityofpotentiaJcustomers(usually,touristsfromoutsidetheSanFranciscoBayArea)to25locateitviainternetsearchesonpopularsearchenginessuchasGoogle.com("Google").2627basisallegesandaversthatdefendantGrouponisadeal-of-the-daywebsitethatislocalizedtomajor28geographicmarketsworldwide.Asa"deaJ-of-the-day"website,Grouponprominentlyfeaturesa
Page2-CaseNo.ComplaintforInjunctiveReliefandDamages
 
1newcouponfromadifferentadvertisereachday(alongwithafewotherless-prominentdiscount2offers,whichalsochangeonadailybasis).LaunchedinNovember2008,thefirstmarketfor3GrouponwasChicago,followedsoonthereafterbyothercities,includingbutnotlimitedtoSan4Francisco.PlaintiffisinformedandbelievesthatGrouponcurrentlyservesmorethan150markets5inNorthAmericaand100marketsinEurope,AsiaandSouthAmericaandhasamassed35million6registeredusers.InDecember2010itpubliclyturneddownanofferfromCalifornia-basedGoogle7toacquireGrouponforasuminexcessof$5billion.
8HOWGOOGLE'SADWORDSPROGRAMWORKS
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AuserofasearchenginesuchasGooglereceivestwokindsof"results"froma10Googlesearch.ThefirstkindofresultfromaGooglesearchisaninformationaldisplayoflinks11rankedbythesearchengineintermsofhowcloselyitappearstocorrespondwiththeuser'ssearch12terms.Theuser
can
clickthroughthedisplayedlinks,andtheoperatorofthewebsiteassociated13withthedisplayedlinkisnotchargedbythesearchengine.Thesecondkindofresultfroma14Googlesearchispurchasedplacementofanadvertiser'slink.Thesepurchasedplacementsusually.15appearabovetheinformationalsearchresultsonthefirstpageofthesearchresults,andalongside16theinformationaldisplayoflinksonthefirstpageofthesearchresults.179.MostsearchesonsearchenginessuchasGoogleproducemany,manypagesof18informationalsearchresults.However,userswillnottypicallyvieweverypageofa20-pagesearch19resultbeforeselectingparticularwebsitestovisitthatappeartocorrespondtotheirsearch.Internet20advertisersandmarketersaccordinglystrivetoappearonthefirstpageofauser'ssearchrelevantto21theirbusinesses,becauseusersarebelievedtobemorelikelytoclickthroughtoauser'slanding22page(a"landingpage"isthefirstpageauseristakenafterclickingthroughalink)ifthe23advertiser'slinkappearsonthatfirstpage.2410.Toaddressthisneed,Googleoperatesanadvertisingauctionserviceprogramknown25asAdWords.Participantsinthisprogram,usuallyonlinemarketersandadvertiserssuchas26Plaintiff,
draft
shortadvertisementsknownas"AdWords"whichincludea"headline"andanad27excerpt(seeExhibitAforasample),andpurchasetherighttousekeywordsthatwillrespondtoa28user'ssearchforsuchterms.Whenauser'sGooglesearchmatchestheselectedkeywords,Google
Page3-CaseNo.ComplaintforInjunctiveReliefandDamages

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