Monday, Aug. 10, 2009 | 10:07 a.m.
Related Document (.pdf)
Financial company Visa International Service Association has sued several Web sites it says are infringing on its trademarks.
Sued in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas on Friday were the Internet domain names visacredit.com, visacreditcard.com, visadebit.com, visarewards.com, visamobile.com, visapay.com and vissa.com.
It's unclear who owns several of the domain names. The lawsuit says five of them were privately registered through companies such as Moniker Privacy Services of Pompano Beach., Fla.; Domains by Proxy Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Dynamic Dolphin Privacy Protect of Broomfield, Colo.
One was registered by Bridge Port Enterprises Ltd. of St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda; and another was registered by Dotstar Inc. through Encom Inc. of Seattle, the suit says.
The defendants have not yet responded to the allegations and they could not immediately be reached for comment.
Based in Foster City, Calif., Visa says it operates the world's largest retail electronic payments network and that VISA is one of the most recognized brands in the world with more than 1.5 billion VISA-branded cards in use.
Visa says in its lawsuit that the registrants of the defendant domain names are "cybersquatting," or hoping to capture or divert Internet traffic intended for its visa.com Web site.
"The registrants registered the defendant domain names with bad faith intent to profit from Visa's distinctive and famous VISA mark," the suit charges.
They hope to accomplish this, the lawsuit charges, by deceiving consumers who think the real Visa Web site can be found by typing in Web names that include "Visa" and a generic term such as "credit."
The vissa.com Web site is accused of trying to reach consumers who mistakenly type in "Visa" with a second "s," the suit charges.
It charges the registrants of several of the domain names used private domain name registration services in order to conceal their identities.
Visa's lawsuit seeks an injunction barring the defendants from violating the Visa trademark and the transfer of the subject domain names to Visa.
Some of the sites move Internet users to a search.aol.com page that says "the web address you entered could not be found." Still, these pages offer links to sites like www.creditcards.com and www.instantcreditcard.com.
The visadebit.com site includes links involving "prepaid Visa card" and "Visa debit," while the visarewards.com site offers links involving cash-back incentives.
The mobilevisa.com site offers links to credit-card related sites. The link topics include "credit card application," "credit" and "bad credit."
The vissa.com site offers links to several sites including destinations involving "US Immigration Services" and one saying "Apply For Visa Cards."