Appeals court backs Equifax against Fico

Source: Equifax

Experian, the global information services company, announced today that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled unanimously in favor of Experian, confirming earlier decisions by the district court and a federal jury in a lawsuit brought by Fico against Experian, Equifax, TransUnion and VantageScore Solutions, LLC, challenging the VantageScore and Plus Score credit scoring services.

"Today's decision once again confirms the value of competition and choice in credit scoring," said Kerry Williams, group president, Experian Credit Services and Decision Analytics, North America. "FICO filed this meritless case for the sole purpose of eliminating the powerful competition introduced by VantageScore in the credit scoring marketplace and impeding industry innovation. However, every one of FICO's claims has been repeatedly rejected by the courts."

The Eighth Circuit upheld District Judge Ann Montgomery's July 2009 decision in the United States District Court in Minneapolis, which dismissed FICO's antitrust, false advertising, and breach of contract claims made in a lawsuit filed in 2006. The appeals court further upheld the 12 person jury's unanimous rejection of FICO's trademark claims at trial. Of critical importance was the jury's finding that FICO's alleged "300-850" score-range trademark was obtained through fraud on the United States Patent & Trademark Office.

"We are glad to see that the court of appeals agreed with the district court and the federal jury that FICO's claims were baseless, unwarranted and based on a trademark that it had obtained through fraud," continued Williams. "This decision further 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. With a range from 501 to 990, VantageScore is used by four of the top five financial institutions, five of the top five credit card issuers, two of the top five auto lenders and one of the top five mortgtgage lenders.

The PLUS Score model, developed by Experian, is a user-friendly credit score whose goal is 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 about the factors that drive credit scores up and down. With a score range of scores from 330 to 830, the PLUS Score model is based on the most current consumer information available. 

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