Experian prevails in lawsuit brought by FICO

A Minneapolis jury today decided in favour of Experian in a trademark lawsuit brought by FICO against the company, in addition to TransUnion and VantageScore Solutions. The jury’s decision confirms Experian’s right to continue marketing its VantageScore and PLUS Score services, rejects FICO’s claim that it holds exclusive trademark rights to credit score ranges overlapping 300 to 850, and fundamentally protects consumers’ ability to choose the credit scoring service best suited to their needs. The jury also found that FICO committed fraud on the Patent and Trademark Office in obtaining its trademark registration.

“Today’s verdict is a victory for Experian and for American consumers,” said Kerry Williams, group president of credit services and decision analytics at Experian. “By preventing FICO from further stifling competition in the marketplace, the jury’s decision will increase consumer choice in credit scoring.”

The verdict in the United States District Court in Minneapolis follows an earlier decision by District Judge Ann Montgomery, which dismissed all of FICO’s other claims, including antitrust, false advertising and breach of contract. Today’s jury decision removes the final remaining claim in FICO’s case, and all claims have now been resolved in Experian’s favour.

“FICO’s trademark claim was the last vestige of a fundamentally meritless case, whose simple goal was to eliminate competition to FICO’s credit scores,” continued Williams. “Along with the court’s earlier dismissal of FICO’s claims, this verdict confirms that the VantageScore and PLUS Score services have introduced positive competition into the marketplace, which ultimately benefits consumers of credit scoring services.”

VantageScore is the credit reporting industry’s first credit score developed jointly by the three national credit reporting companies to deliver consistent, objective credit scores across their respective databases. VantageScore provides consumers and businesses with a highly predictive, consistent score that is easy to understand and apply. VantageScore utilizes a range from 501 to 990 that naturally aligns with well-known A, B, C, D and F grade intervals, and is used by four of the top five US financial institutions and eight of the top 10 credit card issuers.

The PLUS Score model, developed by Experian, is a user-friendly credit score designed to help consumers better understand personal credit, how it impacts them and how best to improve it. Using a formula similar to those used by lenders, the PLUS Score helps consumers learn the factors that drive credit scores up and down. With a range of scores from 330 to 830, the PLUS Score model is based on the most current consumer information available.

Experian announcements are available on www.experianplc.com.