Intellectual Property Rights

Report Intellectual Property Abuse

While the growth of e-commerce provides merchants immense opportunity to sell their products globally, it also creates an opportunity for criminals to attempt to conduct illegal transactions. From money laundering to deceptive offers, or illegal gambling to selling counterfeit goods that infringe upon Intellectual Property (“IP”) rights, Visa is committed to preventing the use of its payment brand and system for illegal transactions. It’s not an easy job, nor is it one that Visa can always handle on its own absent the support of IP Owners and law enforcement, but it is critical to maintaining the trust of all the participants in the payment system. To that end, Visa has a long track record of working closely with IP Owners and cooperating with law enforcement to combat IP infringement on the internet. If you are an IP Owner, please read more to learn about how you can report IP infringing transactions to Visa.

Illegal Transactions Prohibited

Visa voluntarily provides assistance to IP Owners to address e-commerce transactions involving IP infringing products. Upon receiving complete information and credible evidence directly from the IP Owner establishing that a merchant (“Merchant”) is engaged in transactions involving the sale of infringing goods on the Internet using Visa-branded payment cards, Visa’s will attempt to identify and notify the Merchant’s Acquiring Bank (“Acquirer”). The Acquirer will be asked to investigate the allegations of infringement and take any appropriate action, which may include, but is not limited to, directing the Merchant to cease selling infringing goods identified by the IP Owner or terminating the merchant account.

How to Report IP Abuse to Visa

If you are an IP Owner whose previous enforcement efforts with the Merchant have been unsuccessful, and have a good faith belief that a website is accepting Visa as a form of payment for products that infringe your IP rights, please provide all of the following information to us at Inquiries@visa.com. Please note that we cannot process your complaint until we are provided with complete responses to #1-5 as set forth below.

  1. Merchant Information and Description of Violation. Please describe the violation in detail including:
    1. Merchant Website Information. Please provide the following information regarding the Merchant accused of infringing the IP Owner’s intellectual property rights, including:
      1. Merchant Name
      2. Merchant Website Address (Domain Name)
      3. Domain Name Registration Information (WHOIS lookup available at DomainTools.com and through most domain name registrars)
      4. Merchant Country
    2. Detailed Description of the Violation. A detailed description of each infringing good, including the name of the good, the model number (if applicable), and screenshots showing each infringing good appearing on the Merchant website. (Note, in the event it is not obvious that the accused goods infringe the IP Owner’s rights, please provide documentary proof that the IP Owner has inspected such goods and that the results of such inspection establish that such goods are infringing.)
    3. Enforcement Efforts by the IP Owner. Attach all cease and desist letters, or other enforcement-related documentation, sent by the IP Owner to the Merchant notifying the Merchant of the infringing activity and evidencing the IP Owner’s own good faith attempts to enforce its IP rights. Please note that Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices may be sent as supporting evidence to respond to 1c, but DMCA notices must be directed to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) that hosts the website displaying the copyright infringing material. DMCA notices should not be addressed or directed to Visa, and Visa will not be taking action solely on the basis of receiving such notices without also receiving complete responses to #1-5 described herein.
  2. Acceptance of Visa Cards at the Merchant Website. Please provide evidence that the allegedly infringing goods can be purchased using a Visa payment card. Acceptable evidence includes a screenshot of the Visa logo being used on the Merchant website at check-out. Successful test purchases using a Visa card are highly encouraged but not required. Evidence of a test purchase can be extremely helpful to expedite the processing of the IP Owner’s submission. Reliable test purchase evidence includes the, 16-digit Visa card number, transaction date and transaction amount. To maintain compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) rights holders are instructed not to send card information over the internet. Visa will contact the IP Owner by phone to request the card number if the IP Owner’s submission states a successful test transaction was conducted.
  3. IP Owner’s Contact Details
    1. IP Owner Company Name
    2. IP Owner Point of Contact (Name, Title, Business Address, E-mail and Phone Number)
  4. Evidence of IP Rights. Evidence demonstrating that the IP Owner owns the copyrights or trademarks allegedly infringed by the goods on the Merchant website and that such rights prohibit the sale of such goods by the Merchant in the country where the Merchant is located or in the country(ies) to which the Merchant has sold or has offered to sell the allegedly infringing goods. Acceptable evidence of the IP Owner’s rights may include, but is not limited to, registration numbers or copies of registration certificates issued by a government agency.
  5. IP Owner’s Attestation. A signed attestation by the IP Owner (or if the IP Owner is a company, a signed attestation by an authorized officer of the IP Owner) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the jurisdiction in which the attestation is signed that: (a) after a reasonable inquiry by the IP Owner, all of the information and evidence provided by the IP Owner to Visa is true and accurate to the best of the IP Owner’s knowledge; (b) the IP Owner has not authorized the Merchant to sell the goods at issue and the sale of such goods is not permitted by law in the relevant jurisdiction; and (c) the Merchant’s sale of the goods at issue is likely to be considered an infringement of the IP Owner’s intellectual property rights by a court of competent jurisdiction in the relevant jurisdiction. Visa will not accept submissions without a signed Attestation by the IP Owner. Visa will only accept submissions directly from the IP Owner or licensed attorneys acting on behalf of the IP Owner; provided, however, that Visa reserves the right to require an appropriate written power of attorney from the attorney purporting to act on behalf of the IP Owner.
What Steps Will Visa Take?

Upon receiving the above required information, Visa will initiate an action to identify the Merchant’s Acquiring Bank, forward the IP Owner’s submission to the appropriate Acquirer, and instruct the Acquirer to initiate an investigation into its Merchant. If the Merchant does not agree to cease selling the goods at issue, or if the Merchant does not provide evidence that supports a genuine issue regarding the lawfulness of the Merchant’s sale of the goods at issue, the Acquirer will be expected to terminate processing Visa payments for the Merchant.

What if the Merchant Defends its Business?

If the Merchant provides evidence that supports a genuine issue regarding the lawfulness of the Merchant’s sale of the goods at issue, such written evidence will be provided to the IP Owner. If Visa determines that there is a genuine dispute between the IP Owner and the Merchant regarding the lawfulness of the Merchant’s sale of the goods at issue, Visa will direct the IP Owner to directly address its concerns with the Acquirer and/or the Merchant. At Visa’s discretion, an IP Owner may be required to defend, indemnify and hold Visa harmless against any claim by the Merchant or other affected parties relating to the investigation and any subsequent remedial action taken regarding the Merchant, including, but not limited to, paying Visa and the Acquiring Bank for any attorneys’ fees, costs and damages they may incur in connection with the dispute.

Maintaining trust in electronic payments in the face of intellectual property abuse is a responsibility shared by Visa, IP Owners, law enforcement, and other entities that operate in the e-commerce space. Visa takes IP infringement seriously, and will continue to work collaboratively with stakeholders to assist in preventing illegal transactions occurring over the Visa network.

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