A federal appeals court dealt Fair Isaac Corp. a fresh blow Wednesday, reaffirming a lower-court decision that said the company cannot trademark its credit score numbers.
The decision from the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals follows a 2006 lawsuit in which the Minneapolis-based credit scoring company accused credit bureaus Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, along with the three bureaus' joint venture VantageScore Solutions, of false advertising, violating antitrust laws and trademark infringement.
Fair Isaac argued that its competitors were creating copycats of its well-known FICO credit score, but in 2009 a jury found in favor of Fair Isaac's competitors. Fair Isaac asked for a new trial, but that request was denied in 2010.
U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery also ordered the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the company's trademark on its 300-to-850 FICO score range once Fair Isaac's appeals process is complete.
Stamford, Conn.-based VantageScore Solutions issued a statement Wednesday calling the Court of Appeals decision "a complete victory" that will benefit consumers and lenders.
Fair Isaac said it is evaluating its options and that the decision will have little impact on its business.
"These lookalike scores can differ significantly from a consumer's actual FICO Score, misleading consumers into believing they have higher or lower FICO scores than actually is the case," the company said. "As recent economic events have demonstrated, consumers need clarity about their creditworthiness now more than ever."
Jennifer Bjorhus • 612-673-4683