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. 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.
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 will attempt to identify and then notify the Merchant’s Acquiring Bank (“Acquirer”). Acquirers solicit merchant applications, conduct due diligence reviews of prospective merchants, and ultimately contract with Merchants to allow their business to be a Visa payment card accepting Merchant. 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.
Before reporting an IP complaint to Visa, the IP Owner is required to have undertaken prior enforcement efforts against the Merchant. Please 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 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.
a. IP Owner/ Company Name
b. IP Owner Point of Contact (Name, Title, Business Address, E-mail and Phone Number)
Evidence demonstrating that the IP Owner owns the copyrights or trademarks allegedly infringed by the goods on the Merchant website and that ownership of such intellectual property rights would prohibit the sale of such goods by the Merchant in the country where the Merchant is located or in the country(ies) where 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.
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. Visa will not accept submissions without a signed attestation by the IP Owner. Visa will only accept submissions directly from the IP Owner or an authorized attorney acting directly on behalf of the IP Owner who submits a signed Power of Attorney by the IP Owner authorizing the attorney to act directly on its behalf with respect to the specific complaint submitted. Visa may also act on behalf of parties it has contractual relations with. Visa otherwise reserves the right to determine submission eligibility requirements at its sole discretion.
If you are an IP Owner whose previous enforcement efforts against the Merchant have been unsuccessful, and you have a good faith belief that a website is accepting Visa as a form of payment for products that infringe your IP rights, you may submit up to five (5) complaints (one merchant website per complaint) per month. Visa otherwise reserves the right to determine submission eligibility requirements at its sole discretion. Please provide all of the required information here. Please note that Visa cannot process your complaint until we are provided all the required information and documentation.
Upon receiving all of the above required information, Visa will initiate an action to identify the Merchant’s Acquirer (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 or Acquirer 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.
If the Merchant or Acquirer 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 Merchant and the IP Owner 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 Merchant and/or the Acquirer. At Visa’s sole discretion, an IP Owner may be required to defend, indemnify and hold Visa harmless against any claim by the Merchant, Acquirer, 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 Acquirer 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.