MINNEAPOLIS, July 27, 2009 – In a case brought by FICO (NYSE: FIC) claiming trademark infringement, misleading consumer advertising and unfair competitive tactics by Experian, TransUnion and VantageScore Solutions, the United States District Court in Minneapolis has denied the defendants’ motions to dismiss FICO’s trademark infringement, unfair competition and passing off claims, clearing the way for the case to be brought to trial later this year.
“This suit is about two things: fairness and consumer protection,” said Mark Greene, chief executive officer at FICO. “At a time when consumers most need clarity regarding their creditworthiness, it’s imperative that they understand whether or not the credit scores they purchase are industry-standard FICO® scores, or merely lookalike “educational” scores not actually used by lenders to make lending decisions.”
FICO is the developer of the industry-standard FICO® score, which is used by the vast majority of lenders to make credit decisions. Consumers have several ways of viewing their own FICO score, including through the myFICO.com website, which also contains free information about how to manage one’s credit health.
FICO has long maintained that advertising and other methods used by Experian, TransUnion and VantageScore Solutions deliberately confuse consumers into purchasing other, little-used 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.
These little-used educational scores generally differ significantly from a consumer’s actual FICO® score, often misleading consumers into believing they have higher or lower FICO scores, and thus creditworthiness, than is actually the case. At a time when many consumers are struggling to understand their creditworthiness and obtain credit, such deception can be extremely harmful.
In addition to denying the defendants’ motions for dismissal of FICO’s trademark infringement, unfair competition, and passing off claims, the Court granted the defendants’ motions for dismissal of other antitrust, contract, and certain false advertising claims. With respect to the antitrust claims, the Court’s finding was largely based on VantageScore’s lack of adoption in the lending marketplace, and thus a lack of any injury to FICO. Because the decision was based on FICO’s lack of injury, the Court did not rule on the legality of VantageScore. The Court noted that there may be a claim that VantageScore constitutes an illegal presence in the market, but held that FICO’s lack of injury precluded it from pursuing its claim at this time. FICO believes strongly in the merits of each of its claims, including that VantageScore remains an illegal presence in the market, and will continue to pursue these claims through an appeal following the upcoming trial.
FICO (NYSE:FIC) transforms business by making every decision count. FICO’s Decision Management solutions combine trusted advice, world-class analytics and innovative applications to give organizations the power to automate, improve and connect decisions across their business. Clients in 80 countries work with FICO to increase customer loyalty and profitability, cut fraud losses, manage credit risk, meet regulatory and competitive demands, and rapidly build market share. FICO also helps millions of individuals manage their credit health through the www.myFICO.com website.
FICO Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Information
Except for historical information contained herein, the statements contained in this news release that relate to FICO or its business are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially, including the success of the Company’s Decision Management strategy and reengineering plan, the maintenance of its existing relationships and ability to create new relationships with customers and key alliance partners, its ability to continue to develop new and enhanced products and services, its ability to recruit and retain key technical and managerial personnel, competition, regulatory changes applicable to the use of consumer credit and other data, the failure to realize the anticipated benefits of any acquisitions, continuing material adverse developments in global economic conditions, and other risks described from time to time in FICO’s SEC reports, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended September 30, 2008, and its quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the period ended June 30, 2009. If any of these risks or uncertainties materializes, FICO’s results could differ materially from its expectations. FICO disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
FICO is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation.
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