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Fair Isaac Loses Antitrust Suit

Source: WSJ

Posted on 24 Nov 2009

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A federal jury ruled for the defendants in Fair Isaac Corp.'s lawsuit accusing credit-scoring firm VantageScore Solutions and national credit-reporting agencies Experian PLC and TransUnion LLC of trademark infringement and unfair competition.

Fair Isaac, a credit-scoring company that developed the FICO credit score, said it plans to appeal the verdict and will continue to work for clarity and fairness in ads about consumer-credit scores.

The company has contended the defendants' advertising and other tactics "deliberately confuse customers into purchasing their credit scores under the false belief that they are FICO scores, or that the scores they buy from these companies are used by their lenders to make credit decisions -- neither of which is the case."

Chief Executive Mark Greene said Friday that "this case is about two things: fairness and consumer protection. While we're disappointed by this jury's verdict, we remain confident in the validity of our claims."

Barrett Burns, president of VantageScore -- created in 2006 by Experian, TransUnion and Equifax Inc. -- called the decision a "clear victory for VantageScore and others in the credit-scoring industry, including lenders."

TransUnion executive Jeff Hellinga added, "We hope this outcome finally puts this matter to rest and that Fair Isaac will embrace the choice, competition and innovation that TransUnion and VantageScore have brought to the market."

Fair Isaac previously said it will appeal a July decision by the same federal court to dismiss antitrust, contract and false advertising claims that FICO brought in October 2006 against the same defendants.

Fair Isaac's shares have gained 70% in the past year.