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.
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.
If you are an IP Owner whose previous enforcement efforts with the Merchant have been unsuccessful, and firmly believe 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. Please note that Visa cannot process your complaint until we are provided with all the required information and documentation.
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, email 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 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.
A signed attestation by the IP Owner (or if the IP Owner is a company, a signed attestation by an authorised 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 enquiry 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 authorised 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.
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.
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 lawyers’ 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.