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Visa vs. evisa.com In Vegas

CowboyNeal posted more than 11 years ago | from the registering-english-namespace dept.

News 184

wessman writes "In October 2002, Visa (the credit card company) convinced a Las Vegas federal court to prevent the small business JSL Corp. from using the term 'evisa' and the domain 'evisa.com' for its website offering travel, foreign language, and other multilingual applications and services. The court ruled that the website--run by Joe Orr from his apartment-- 'diluted' Visa's trademark, even though the site uses the word 'visa' in its ordinary dictionary definition, not in relation to credit card services. Now, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is helping JSL with an appeal. The EFF has a press release available."

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184 comments

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I'm sorry but... (-1, Offtopic)

kko (472548) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738633)

I could not stand it.... First Post!!!!!

Overzealous... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738634)

That's like San Fransisco suing eBay...

First post?

You can't trademark dictionary words! (4, Funny)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738635)

I hope that Visa gets e-visa-rated in the ensuing lawsuits.

Re:You can't trademark dictionary words! (1)

SavingPrivateNawak (563767) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738782)

And what about Windows?

It has nothing to do with real windows! It's just a metaphor like Visa's.

Corporations trademark whatever please them, alas.

Re:You can't trademark dictionary words! (2)

ndogg (158021) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738795)

http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?va=eviscerat ed

FIRSTVS POSTVS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738636)

NVFF SAID!

Power (1, Redundant)

Kandel (624601) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738640)

Aaah...another fine example of a big corporation abusing ones power, not because it is legally viable, but simply, just because they can.

Re:Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738832)

Someone please mod this parent up! It has a very insightful comment that most slashdoters do not realize.

Go EFF! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738641)

GO EFF, GO GO GO! :-))

That's absurd. (5, Insightful)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738643)

I mean, I know this is slashdot, and a million people are going to say the same thing...

but that's rediculous. A VISA is a very, very common international term NOT related to credit cards.
If the site was about any kind of financial transaction providing, I'd say this was completely justified.....

Re:That's absurd. (2)

azaroth42 (458293) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738683)

As per the wired article, I agree with the defendant that Visa just wants the eVisa.com domain name.

Visa has no more right to the dictionary word 'visa' than Apple has on the fruit. Especially when the word is used in its -correct- context.

I'm trading in my Visa for MasterCard. How about you?

-- Azaroth

Re:That's absurd. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738788)

I'm trading in my Visa for MasterCard. How about you?

What? Why would you trade an endorsement that allows you to stay in a country for a credit card?

Re:That's absurd. (4, Informative)

i-sob (87633) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738810)

If you exchange your Visa for a MasterCard, you won't really be boycotting Visa:

Visa and Mastercard are really two names for the same economic enterprise, i.e. a group of 6000 banks. Of these, the same 50 or so big banks own, govern and make all of the competitive decisions for the brands called Visa and Mastercard.
From PBS [pbs.org]

Visa and MasterCard are being sued by American Express and the DOJ for antitrust [americanexpress.com] and by a a group of retailers [lexisone.com] for antitrust related to debit cards.

Re:That's absurd. (2, Funny)

bumby (589283) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738686)

Ehm, I have a trademark "is". So could you please remove those from your post.

Re:That's absurd. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738913)

Sure, once you remove my trademarked letter 'i'

Re:That's absurd. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738719)

What's truly absurb and ridiculous is that you were incapable of reading the fucking article. Why do you bother speaking?

goat (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738649)

* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g l l g
o / \ l / l \ o
a| l \ l | a
t| `. l | : t
s` l | \l | s
e \ l / / \\\ --__ \\ : e
x \ \/ _--~~ ~--__| \ | x
* \ \_-~ ~-_\ | *
g \_ \ _.--------.______\| | g
o \ \______/y _ ___ _ (_C__> \ | o
a \ . C ___) ______ (_(____> | / a
t /\ | C ____)/ \ (_____> |_/ t
s / /\| C_____) | (___> / \ s
e | ( _C_____)\______/ // _/ / \ e
x | \ |__ \\_________// (__/ | x
* | \ \____D `---- --'y | *
g | \_ ___\ /_ _/ | g
o l / l | \ | o
a | l / x \ \ | a
t | / / | y | \ |t
s | / / \__/\___/ | |s
e l / l | | |e
x l | l | | |x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you consider loging in or creating an account.. Problems regarding accounts or comment posting should be sent to CowboyNeal.

Re:goat (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738796)

Good stuff.

About time you fixed your shitty ascii art, though there are still some stray characters, at least you can see what you're trying to draw. It's a much more effective troll when you don't have to stare at it for 20 minutes.

Good morrow to you, sir

Well (3, Insightful)

damiam (409504) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738651)

I hate to say it, but I think Visa's got a case. My first thoughts when I see evisa.com are "electronic Visa". There is legitimate potential for confusion here (unlike the Lindows case). Now, you can argue that Visa shouldn't be allowed to trademark dictionary words, and you're probably right, but legally Visa's on solid ground.

Re:Well (3, Insightful)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738733)

Frankly, bullshit.

That's like saying Microsoft could sue 'ewindows.com', a site that sells windows, of the glass variety...

Re:Well (2, Insightful)

damiam (409504) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738748)

They could, if they already owned e-windows.com [e-visa.com] .

Re:Well (1)

xingix (601512) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738813)

No, evisa.com was around before e-visa.com so your argument doesn't work.

Re:Well (3, Informative)

FluffyOne (134714) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738827)

evisa.com was registered first according to whois.

Where does that leave us?

Ronny

Re:Well (4, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738735)

Hmmm. My first thought when I see "evisa.com" is "Oh, another made-up company name." (Avaya, Agilent, etc.) My first thought when I see "eVisa" (or, for that matter, "e-Visa") is "government program to allow people to apply for visas over the net." That it's private rather than government doesn't substantially change that interpretation. If I were looking for visa help, I'd be happy to find a company that could provide it.

And you know, like most Americans, I pay for a good half the shit I buy by credit card -- more like 90% if you count using my debit card as well -- and both my credit and debit cards say "Visa" on them. And yet that is waaay down on the list of things I think of.

I I want to contact Visa over the net, I'll go to visa.com, not evisa.com or e-visa.com or whatever. You wouldn't go to eford.com to look at cars, would you?

Re:Well (1)

gt25500 (622543) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738746)

Eh... Visa: An official authorization appended to a passport, permitting entry into and travel within a particular country or region. Shall I name my company after some fairly common word and get my panties up in a wad when someone uses it for its ACTUAL meaning?

Re:Well (4, Informative)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738833)

>> Now, you can argue that Visa shouldn't be allowed to trademark dictionary words, and you're probably right

Of course you can trademark dictionary words, or combinations of them.

Are you saying every company should make up some gibberish string of characters for every product or service they want to offer?

How would you like a alvnernmpal digelflorp?

A trademark only applies to the specific product or service, though. And it's only being violated if someone uses it for a similar product or service.

Trademarks are valuable not only to corporations, but to you. If you buy a Ford Explorer, you're getting a Ford Explorer. If I sold you a mo-ped and told you it was a Ford Explorer, I'd be guilty of fraud - because I misrepresented it as a trademarked good. If not for the trademark, I'd be innocent so long as there was a sticker on it saying 'Ford Explorer'.

In this case, if evisa offers credit, or some other financial services, they'd be fraudulently tricking people into thinking they're Visa.

But the name of the company doesnt matter. If you go to the website to apply for a credit card, you quickly realize that it's not the same company at all.

They aren't going to trick you into booking a vacation thinking that there's a gold card waiting in Tahiti for you.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738877)

The EFF used the very good Apple example (though they didn't mention Apple Music giving Apple Computer a hard time a while back). By your logic, I guess Sun Microsystems has the right to prevent NASA and all weather and astronomy organizations from referring to any suns in their web sites?

Re:Well (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738940)

That's Visa's problem for trademarking such a common word. If they want exclusive rights to all uses of a word they are welcome to use a password generator. It would be stupid of us to give companies exclusive rights to useful portions of our language.

No case needed (3, Insightful)

erpbridge (64037) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738652)

...unless Visa (credit card corp) is planning on going into the travel visa business with a one-card system (all your info is based on the numbered tracks on your card, which reference a central database). Even then, there is no case at current until Visa owns the travel visa process.

I can't believe they convinced a Las Vegas federal court that it was a legit case. It should have been laughed out by the judge in less than 10 minutes. There is no way this should have gotten this far.

Re:No case needed (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738934)

Don't forget, visa would need to time travel back to before this website was created, if visa went into the same buisness after the evisa website was already running, they still shouldn't have a case. I could patent visa toasters if want (umm an imported good with pictures of various visa's on the side) unless visa credit cards went into this buisness BEFORE me, their patent on the name is irrelevant, in fact I'd have the right to sue them if they tried using the name visa.

Re:No case needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738999)

Well, i'm not particularly happy with this sort of crap either, but i don't agree with you, for two reasons:

First, companies *must* be seen to be doing what they can to protect their trademarks, lest they be blind-sided one day with a judgement which *really* matters. This is usually at the root of those cases one hears about that are so patently (ha-ha) ridiculous.

Second, well, at first i thought that this might be one of those cases. But when you think of all the 'electronic' aspects of the credit card business these days, there is surely a large chance of mistaking e-visa with the Visa(tm) brand.

Third - maybe it's jus me, but i've always seen the name Visa(tm) as being a direct reference to a visa in the travel sense. That is, they would like one to feel that posession of their card bestows a certain amount of freedom to shop, opens doors to malls the world over, etc.

Don't get me wrong - i think it stinks, generally; it's just that trademark law proscribes a certain amount of due diligence by the mark holder, and i feel that the EFF does not have a case here.

Oh, and i am not a trademark attorney, but i once lived with a clerk for one ;-)

EFF is full of it here (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738653)

Visa is not suing JSL because their website "evisa.com" dilutes Visa's trademark. They are suing JSL because their website dilutes Visa's "e-visa.com" trademark. Which Visa owns. Visa owns the trademarks to both E-Visa and to eVisa. Neither of which is in the dictionary, thank you very much.

EFF should be spending its time on a more worthwhile lawsuit. They'll go down in flames on this one: Visa is dead right.

Re:EFF is full of it here (1)

Swannie (221489) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738700)

If they trademarked eVisa, they should have spend the $15 and registered eVisa.com...


Swannie

Re:EFF is full of it here (2)

csnydermvpsoft (596111) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738791)

It was probably already taken... Except, wouldn't that prove that evisa was there first? Hmm... slightly confusing.

See, THIS Is what SHOULD have been.. (1)

AzrealAO (520019) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738708)

See, this is what SHOULD have been in the article summary, since it quite clearly states the issue, rather than the ambigious impression the article summary leaves. That Visa is suing because evisa dilutes the Visa trademark. They're suing because they actually own the evisa trademark as well.

Pretty cut and dried actually.

Re:See, THIS Is what SHOULD have been.. (1)

xingix (601512) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738826)

No, if you RTFA it says the trademarks are pending. Thanks for coming out.

No. (3, Informative)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738894)

JSL has owned the "evisa" trademark in international category ic042 since October of 1999.

VISA has owned "evisa" in ic036 since august of that year. Why they didn't register evisa.com at the same time is beyond me, but in any event, they both have valid claims to the domain name, and JSL registered first.

Re: The AC is full of it here (4, Informative)

azaroth42 (458293) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738721)

Garbage. E-Visa is not a trademark of Visa.
They may have /applied/ for it to be a trademark, but that's not to say it is one -now- for them to be suing under. RTFA.

On the E-Visa.com website, under Legal it lists their trademarks as:

The trademarks, logos, and service marks (collectively the "Trademarks") displayed on the Visa site are registered and unregistered Trademarks of Visa and others. VISA®, the Three Bands Design Mark®, CLASSIC®, the Comet Design Mark®, the Dove Design Mark®, ELECTRON®, ENTREE®, the Impulse Design Mark®, INTERLINK®, the Network Design Mark®, PLUS®, the PLUS Design Mark®, and It's Everywhere You Want To Be® are registered Trademarks of Visa in the United States and other countries

Of *course* Visa owns the evisa trademark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738776)

Geez, how hard is it to just go to USPTO.gov and look up the evisa trademark?

Visa International Services Association applied for the mark on August 19, 1999. JSL applied for the mark on October 6, 1999. Visa wins.

Visa International Services Association also applied for the mark "e-via" on August 19, 1999.

Visa has the earlier application. Unless evisa.com can claim that their evisa won't dilute Visa's evisa (it clearly does), evisa.com is going down in flames.

Re:Of *course* Visa owns the evisa trademark (2)

Florian Weimer (88405) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738819)

Visa International Services Association applied for the mark on August 19, 1999. JSL applied for the mark on October 6, 1999. Visa wins.

Is it that simple in the US? In other countries, a trademark gains some protection by its use, even if it is not registered. If Visa didn't use the trademark back in 1999, it's not obvious who should own the trademark.

Re:Of *course* Visa owns the evisa trademark (3, Insightful)

xingix (601512) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738839)

Exactly. evisa.com has been around since 1997. If I open a store called epillows.com and don't trademark the name and some big pillow company decides to trademark epillows and e-pillows, there's no way in hell they're taking my domain without a fight.

Re: The AC is full of it here (5, Insightful)

LuxFX (220822) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738879)

While USPTO.gov does state that Visa's Trademark application was roughly 2.5 weeks prior to the defendant's, the JSL (the defendant) application includes dates for first use and first use in commerce:

Visa's application: August 19th, 1999
JSL's application: October 6th, 1999
JSL's First Use/in Commerce: December 27, 1997

This handily beats out Visa's information, which doesn't include these dates at all. IANAL, but as far as I know the date of established use trumps date of application.

In fact, it could even be argued that JSL Corporation (the defendant) could sue Visa for dilution of trademark.

-----------------

Re:EFF is full of it here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738728)

It's probably for the best, then. The EFF has a habit of getting laughed out of court every time they get involved in a suit.

Trademarks only apply to specific trades (4, Insightful)

rcw-home (122017) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738738)

Visa owns the trademarks to both E-Visa and to eVisa.

Only in the credit card trade, I would imagine. Visa would have to either prove that their eVisa trademark is 'famous', or prove that evisa.com is in the credit card business to win this suit.

Re:Trademarks only apply to specific trades (1)

xingix (601512) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738857)

You just reminded me. I used to have a popular domain name here in BC, Canada and the huge phone company in western Canada sued my company for having a .ca version of their popular .com website. They could not take my domain name because my business model wasn't stated in their trademarks "wares". Every trademark (in Canada anyways) has to say what product it's selling. Therefore, McDonald's shoe company can have a McDonald's trademark if its wares are shoes because the huge McDonald's food chain's wares are most likely food, fast-food etc.

Trademarks Shmademarks (1)

medscaper (238068) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738976)

It's getting old seeing companies sue for things like this.

Mod me down as a troll if you like, but what do YOU do when you go to coke.com and find out it's not really a site for Coca Cola?

Do you piss and moan, lose interest, tear your hair out, swear off the drink, throw away your Coka Cola memorabilia and scream "FUCK!" 80 times at your dog?

No, you go to Google or Yahoo or somewhere and FIND it. The ONLY time this feels even remotely legitimate is when competing companies have similar names. If I go to Coke.com and find Pepsi ads everywhere, I may well get interested and switch to Pepsi. But if I go there and find information on Coal refining, aside from maybe learning something and wasting 2.5 seconds out of my day, I'll just go FIND it. What a waste of our tax dollars.

If you have it, you own it. Roght? If they missed the bandwagon or didn't think to register the name, then too bad. Quit whining and stop wasting our time, Visa.

Re:EFF is full of it here (4, Interesting)

EkiM in De (574327) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738799)

From the Whois database
evisa.com : Record created on 27-Aug-1997
e-visa.com: Created on Wed, Apr 22, 1998

evisa.com had been registered just under a year when VISA [visa.com] registered their domain for eVisa (as a product)

A quick search of the US PTO database reveals that VISA did not register their trademark for eVisa and e-Visa until "August 19, 1999".

Though interestingly a search of the wayback machine shows an incarnation of the evisa website [archive.org] from oct 12 1999 (after the eVisa trademark was filed) as a webdesign and e-commerce company, with later additional web directory content. The wayback machine does not have any Visa (as an entry stamp) information as of Sep 25 2001 (its last entry for evisa.com)

There is no "evisa.com" trademark. (2)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738884)

See my other comment [slashdot.org] . There is no trademark on 'evisa.com' or 'e-visa.com'. JSL and VISA both own trademarks on "evisa" in different international categories. VISA also owns a trademark on "e-visa" and "e visa".

Obviously visa should get dibs on the "visa" trademark, but I had never heard of 'evisa' before. Had I seen the word out of context I would have associated it with neither banking or travel, but rather simply thought of it as one of those random company names (accenture, aquent, alcola)

Anyway, in an ideal world, JSL would have evisa.travel, and VISA could have evisa.bank.

To bad ICANN is run by monkies. Ah well.

Re:EFF is full of it here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738920)

Um, this guy registered his domain first me thinks. Wouldn't they be dilluting his domain name?

I know, trademarks and all, big business yadda yadda.

We just have to remember, this guy was doing it first and legitametly.

Proper ruling (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738655)

Judge should rule that unless Visa corp is in the business of distributing entry clearance permits for world nations, they must immediately change their name to something else.

They are diluting the normal outlets for visa applications and work permits.

This just in (4, Funny)

ekrout (139379) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738660)

HOLLAND, MI -- Popular geek news site Slashdot (www.slashdot.org) has come under fire recently for featuring articles on the Visa, Inc. credit card company. Visa has trademarked any combination/permutation of the English letters "v", "i", "s", and "a".

Lawyers from both sides have slated a preliminary meeting and hope to settle outside of court.

Slashdot's head honcho, Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda, was unavailable for comments. Members of his site appear to be concerned about dealing with Visa's behemoth legal team, and plan on purchasing hot grit and goat insurance just to be safe.

Stay tuned as further details from this shocking case come to light.

please to mod down, thnx. (2)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738768)

Trademarks can't stop people from using the names of things, just calling themselves that thing. I can say "JavaTM" (the name sun insists on using every time they write the word... anyway). I can even say "java java java". If I write a program I can say "I wrote this program in Java". What I can't do is call it "JavaWhatever", in which case sun will get their panties in a bunch.

So if slashdot changed their name to "visa", then they would be in trouble. In the interim, they can talk about visa all they want.

+1 Funny more like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738887)

I almost spit my donut out reading this. This is more like 4 Funny not 0 Troll.

Re:This just in (1)

CableModemSniper (556285) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738905)

Tips for mods: Just because you didn't get it, or even if it just wasn't that funny, is no reason to mod it down.

UNFAIR MODDING!! (1)

crawdaddy (344241) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738917)

It was kind of clever...and obviously not meant to be taken literally. Don't mod if you can't pick up on sarcasm. Yeah, it wasn't THAT funny, but definitely not trolling at all.

Other option (1, Funny)

unterderbrucke (628741) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738665)

They could sue all the countries of the world for using the term 'visa' to describe papers that allow you to cross international borders.

Re:Other option (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738695)

*cough* passport *cough* *cough*

Kierthos

Re:Other option (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738712)

*cough* visa in the other 251 countries of the world besides the united states dumbfuck *cough* *cough*

Re:Other option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738806)

A passport is issued by the country where the traveller holds citizenship, a visa is issued by the country that the traveller wishes to enter.

Other addresses at risk too (4, Informative)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738680)

if evisa.com is at risk then there is also

ivisa.com and myvisa.com

which are also registered on who-is


and where does it end?


bluevisa.com, redvisa.com...

Re:Other addresses at risk too (2, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738852)

The point isnt to win.

What they want is for every time you hear the word 'Visa', you think of their credit card, and not something else.

This means doing everything they can to quash alternate uses of the word.

It's the way the system works, and frankly I'm bored of people getting excited every time something like this happens.

I mean, sure, you could go ahead and open a donut shop called "Radio Shack", but you'd just be asking for it.

Re:Other addresses at risk too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738891)

you forgot

visasucks.com
fuckvisa.com

Visa will lose (4, Insightful)

kitzilla (266382) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738691)

Visa will lose on appeal. Though eVisa provides SOME services also provided by Visa credit cards, their core business is entirely different and they are using the term "visa" in its common, not proprietary, sense. Unless Visa can produce some proof of eVisa's *intent* to derive value from the Visa mark (through internal communications or similar graphics), they'll lose.

I, for one, cannot imagine how someone might be mislead into thinking that they were utilizing Visa's credit services.

the definition of visa (2)

Raleel (30913) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738693)

I didn't know it either :)

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=visa

my new domain name (2, Funny)

gymbrall (585532) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738697)

I hope I don't have any trouble with my new website dedicated to internet macaroni.
I'm calling it e-macs.com or I might drop the dash. But it seems like I've heard that
name before...I think it's a text editor, or maybe an IDE, or a browser...

Oh well, I can just claim that they have dilluted their own trademark.

Re:my new domain name (1)

edwazere (87203) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738830)

I think Apple [apple.com] might have something to say about it too...

Re:my new domain name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738971)

Someone from Free Software Foundation should consider sueing Apple over the name eMac which is clearly a ripoff from emacs - the extensible, customizable, self-documenting real-time display editor.

Are anyone familiar with cases there the big bullies gets some of their own medicine??

Of course such as case would be just as hilarious as all the other - but might put things in perspective.

a case perhaps, but a losing one (3, Interesting)

dandelion_wine (625330) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738698)

Possibility for confusion is the test, but I'll never understand why a jury system is suitable for criminal offences (entailing possible deprivation of liberty -- very serious stuff) and not suitable for trademark issues. If confusion is the test, why not have a dozen or more impartial people decide if they would be confused? Have all the usual jury safeguards -- each side able to object to a certain number of candidates to get as unbiased a sample as possible, and go from there.

Personally, I'd have to agree with the above poster -- I did originally think electronic Visa, as in the card. But you can't trademark a common word unless it's acquired a secondary meaning linked to the product. This isn't like calling all tissue papers "Kleenex" or all snowmobiles "Skidoo". I'm sure visas (the passport related ones) were around before Visa was, and this business is using the word with a minor adjustment.

Another factor is supposed to be the point of sale. Are visas and Visa transactions done at the same place? No. So the possibility for confusion diminishes yet again.

Re:a case perhaps, but a losing one (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738869)

>> I'm sure visas (the passport related ones) were around before Visa was, and this business is using the word with a minor adjustment.

Where do you think they got the name?

The credit card is international, it gets you 'in' anywhere. Like a visa. Get it yet? Same thing with 'American Express', or 'Master Card'.

It's not like the company was founded by Philmore Visa, esquire.

When will the madness end? (1)

eWarz (610883) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738702)

Seriously, things are going way too far. This is clearly an infringement on freedom of speech. Dictionary.com [reference.com] defines visa as:

An official authorization appended to a passport, permitting entry into and travel within a particular country or region.

I thought words in the dictionary weren't copyrightable? Can anyone shed some light on this subject?

Re:When will the madness end? (2)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738883)

>> I thought words in the dictionary weren't copyrightable?

They aren't, but they are valid trademarks. And they should be.

Re:When will the madness end? (1)

AndrewRUK (543993) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738888)

This has nothign to do with copyrights. It is about trademarks. Two quite different things. While individual words canot be copyrighted, they can be tradmarks, and the same word can be tradmarked more than once, in different contexts. For example, there are 48 US trademarks on the word apple.

what justice system? (1)

Demonikus (157686) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738713)

visa n. An official authorization appended to a passport, permitting entry into and travel within a particular country or region.

So, the site was using the term in its correct usage, and somehow a Las Vegas federal court was not observant enough to notice this? How could this possible dilute the tm of Visa?

Maybe I'm too naive, but shouldn't the justice system work for the benefit of society?

obligatory joke (1, Funny)

enos (627034) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738716)

Conversation at the border:

"Do you have a visa?"

"No, I have a mastercard"

Dictionary (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738723)

visa n. 1. An official authorization appended to a passport, permitting entry into and travel within a particular country or region 2. A credit card company who exterminated previous definition..

I think Visa may have a point (2, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738724)

In Europe visa offers the Visa Electron card. I could see where evisa could be confusing to people thinking it had something to do with Visa's online varification system or the Visa Electron card.

what if.... (1)

sujan (464326) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738725)

my last name is visa?

Re:what if.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738843)

Kill yourself at once or be sued by 1,000 money hungry lawyers. (STOP! You're in violation of the DMCA!!)

Next, State Dept to be sued (2)

hughk (248126) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738727)

What are those things called that most non-citizens are supposed to get before they come to come to the US? Is it a blue white and gold thingy? Maybe the department of state should check what they are doing in case they upset the Visa group.

Re:Next, State Dept to be sued (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738895)

Actually you are talking about a passport, a visa is generally stamped into the passport indicating you have permission to enter the nation.

Re:Next, State Dept to be sued (2)

hughk (248126) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738992)

State issue visas to visitors at their consular offices worldwide, who do not benefit from waivers, who applied for and received entry clearence. The visa is a stamp, or now a vignette stamped into a passport (harder to forge). The INS check the visa and approve people at the port of entry. State also issue passports, but I was referring to th thing that visitors require. Sorry that wasn't clear.

Who saw this coming? (4, Funny)

Snork Asaurus (595692) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738732)

Score of the Technology/Computer/Internet/Communications revolution at half-time:

Technology professionals: massive unemployment

Lawyers: massive employment

Lucy You should go into high technology. That's where the future lies.

Charlie Brown Yeah, right. Just hold the football.

Well, if the EFF is involved.... (2)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738739)

This guy is probably screwed, sorry to say. Has the EFF had any actual success at all? I only seem to hear about them losing. I agree with what the EFF is trying to do, but it seems like we're all going to be fucked in the ass pretty soon, the way things are going. I guess I'm just a cynic.

I don't know about you guys... (3, Interesting)

MoThugz (560556) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738747)

but I believe the eVisa.com guy could still be saved. The content [3dtree.com] on the previously-known-as-evisa.com site clearly showcases Passport-related items.

I think the best option for him is to buy the domain ePassport.com (if it's still available).

Doh! I forgot, he will then be sued by MS for 'diluting' MS's cross-site authentication trademark...

I guess he's screwed then... too bad.

Re:I don't know about you guys... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738876)

If he get's epassport he'll no doubt be sued by microsoft.

They're taking it a little bit too far (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738749)

I can see the argument they have for trademark dilution, but they're also accusing them of trademark infringment, cybersquatting, deceptive trade policy, and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage. I don't know what the last one is, but it has "intentional" in it. They'll have a hard time showing that evisa is intentionally doing anything.

The grand jury seems to have agreed with me, too. The case was only approved because of the trademark dilution claim. Visa does own the "EVisa" trademark, so they may have rights to the evisa.com domain.

Countersue for dillution of the English language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738750)

Can't someone sue Visa for dilluting the English language? I mean talk about consumer confusion, now when a customs official asks for your visa, people think "uh, do you take checks?" I mean here they've taken a perfectly useful word, probably used in some form since the Roman empire, and created widespread confusion among English speakers around the globe.

I wonder what it would cost for an organization like the EFF to launch a pre-emptive dictionary attack on the trademark system, trademarking all English words that aren't already trademarked, the way domain squatters do with domain names.

But then... (2)

jasonditz (597385) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738765)

At first I like the idea of being able to name my company after a fairly common word and then bludgeoning people with the legal system when they use the word... but then I got to thinking:

Won't Apple be able to sue emacs.org?

Re:But then... (1)

CableModemSniper (556285) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738921)

Naw, they couldn't make any money off of that. No they should sue the guy who came up with Media Access Controller. Got one of those in every computer on a network.

From the article: (5, Funny)

RomikQ (575227) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738778)

Visa convinced a Las Vegas federal court to prevent the small business JSL Corp. from using the term 'evisa' by presenting all court official with visa credit cards to demonstrate their ownership of the visa trademark.

Later that day, the judge assigned to the case was seen in a Jaguar dealership, obviously conducting an investigation into the visa case by using the above mentioned cards. He refused to comment.

On related news... (0)

leecho (627827) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738809)

REDMOND - Microsoft just filed suit against dictionary.com for the use of the words 'word', the plural of 'window' and 'notepad', which are obviously infringing MSFT's applications.

Who owns the trademarks? (2)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738831)

well, according to The US government [uspto.gov] which won't let me link to search results (just do a search for evisa), they have both owned trademarks since 1999, with visa corp beating JSL by two months.

Visa also owns 'e-visa' and 'e visa', but not 'e-visa.com' or 'evisa.com'. Interestingly, they only own the TM in one international category IC036, while JSL owns it in IC046. I'm surprised VISA didn't register their TM in every single possible field.

Typed Drawing

--
Word Mark EVISA
Goods and Services IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: COMPUTER SERVICES, NAMELY DESIGNING AND IMPLEMENTING WEB SITES; PROVIDING TRANSLATION SERVICES FOR OTHERS VIA A GLOBAL COMPUTER NETWORK. FIRST USE: 19971227. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19971227
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 75816558
Filing Date October 6, 1999
Published for Opposition May 15, 2001
Owner (APPLICANT) JSL Corporation CORPORATION NEVADA 3540 W. Sahara #081 Las Vegas NEVADA 89102
Attorney of Record PARKER H. BAGLEY
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Typed Drawing

---

Word Mark EVISA
Goods and Services IC 036. US 100 101 102. G & S: Broad based financial services, namely, banking, payment, credit, debit, charge, pre-paid, stored value, cash disbursement, travelers cheque, travel insurance, deposit access, automated teller machine, point of sale, point of transaction services; providing electronic funds and currency transfer services; providing transaction authorization and settlement services; dissemination of financial information via a global information network
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 75779435
Filing Date August 19, 1999
Filed ITU FILED AS ITU
Published for Opposition October 10, 2000
Owner (APPLICANT) Visa International Service Association CORPORATION DELAWARE 900 Metro Center Boulevard Foster City CALIFORNIA 94404
Prior Registrations 1065272;1071114;1313366;AND OTHERS
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Shouldn't this be the other way around? (1)

TheMooX (613002) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738836)

Apparently Visa trademarked eVisa and e-Visa, as stated by a previous poster. But when I look at some whois info... this is what I'm seeing... Domain Name: E-VISA.COM Created on..............: Wed, Apr 22, 1998 Expires on..............: Wed, Dec 03, 2003 Record last updated on..: Mon, Feb 25, 2002 --- Domain Name: EVISA.COM Record expires on 28-Aug-2009. Record created on 27-Aug-1997. Database last updated on 23-Nov-2002 12:04:47 EST. Did Visa just happen to forget to register theit domains for a year or so? Looks like JSL had evisa before Visa did... at least on the Internet.

Re:Shouldn't this be the other way around? (1)

TheMooX (613002) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738847)

Just as an addition to my comment... as per e-Visa.com....

In 1999, Visa U.S.A. capitalized on this emerging technology and created e-Visa to encourage the widespread adoption of electronic commerce and help consumers, merchants, and members realize the full potential of the Internet. e-Visa's partnerships, technology initiatives, and strong security programs help motivate consumers and businesses to explore new ways to benefit from using Visa payment methods online.

Did the JSL folk just happen to predict that Visa was going to do this back in '97?

(ohoh, and I remembered to use "Plain Old Text" for this post...)

Visa (2)

NetGyver (201322) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738868)

When I think of Visa, i think of a passport. with I think of a passport, i think of paper with identification info on it that you use to travel from country to country.

Microsoft is whacking Lindows for the same thing. (no news here) Which in a way i can see why, but in another way, I think it's just stupid. There should be a law made where if your company name or product is a word that can be found in the dictionary, you shouldn't allow to register it, period.

Why is it that companies think that they can claim a heavily used word as their own? And why is that every company on earth thinks that someone out there may confuse two similar names?
When i saw the link www.evisa.com, I thought it was a site relating to passports or something along those lines.

*whips out credit card*...humm what's the site for this company. 1st guess: www.mastercard.com. *whips out another card* 1st guess: www.visa.com, and so on. Now if Visa has a credit card named "E-Visa" or "eVisa" then i could see the point for the lawsuit.

Re:Visa (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738903)

The Lindows case, in my mind, is wholly different. This is another company offering a directly competing product, purposely named similarly. In that case, Lindows is clearly trying to cash in on the name recognition that MS has built up around their Windows OS line. Thats what trademarks are designed to prevent.

It could be construed that Lindows is deliberately trying to trick computer illiterates into thinking it's somehow a MS operating system, or otherwise approved by them.

It'd be like me marketing a GrayStation 2 or a FameCube.

I know everyone hates MS, but they do have a leg to stand on.

The atomic particle formerly known as "electron" (5, Funny)

stevejsmith (614145) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738885)

ALPHA CENTAURI, Universe--Today when Visa Corp. sued the natural laws of...well...everything in a federal court for infringing on their European trademark of "Visa Electron" the court orded the Universe to cease and desist producing, using, or even acknowlodging the atomic particle formerly known as "electron." Incidentally, the Universe came to a screeching halt everywhere except for Alpha Centauri where the whole Universe is pilled onto one atom with no valence electrons. More news at eleven.

Flaw of Domain Names System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738906)

This once again shows that our current method of dealing with domain names online is flawed. There needs to be a better way to access the information that is relavent to users. Instead of relying on domain names, the web should be based on AI that is intellegent to distinguish between the intentions of the user, and where they want to go. Not only will this make the Internet more managable, it also can make searching the web alot easier. Just an idea.

But it could mean (1)

Martigan80 (305400) | more than 11 years ago | (#4738911)

www.evisa.com get your electronic visa anywhere around the world. Maybe the INS should get involved and sue Visa for taking the name.

Visas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4738942)

Funny, when I was a kid and first heard about visa's (the regular meaning of the word) I was often confused about why a credit card had the same name. I can imagine kids today thinking the same thing about Microsoft Passport: "what, you have to have Windows to travel?"

Since credit cards are often used "to gain entry" to things, couldn't they say Visa is a generic term?

Of course all they have to do is show that "Visa" is "famous" and any common sense goes out the window. *sigh*
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