FICO Creator Sues National Credit Agencies Over VantageScore

Fair Isaac Corp. (FIC), a developer of credit-scoring systems for insurers and lenders, said Thursday it filed a federal antitrust suit against the three national credit reporting agencies over their VantageScore credit scoring product Wednesday.

The company's suit alleges the credit agencies, Equifax Inc. (EFX), Experian Information Solutions Inc. and TransUnion LLC, along with their jointly owned VantageScore Solutions LLC, are engaging in unfair and anticompetitive practices with the launch and marketing of the VantageScore credit score model.

Fair Isaac said VantageScore harms its own FICO credit score brand and goodwill.

The complaint alleges the credit reporting agencies are using false and misleading marketing and advertising claims and are mischaracterizing Fair Isaac's credit scores.

Fair Isaac also claims that because VantageScore's range overlaps with its own FICO score range, the ratings agencies are attempting to profit unfairly from confusion caused by the similar ranges, infringing on Fair Isaac's trademark, and violating fair trade laws.

"The three credit reporting agencies have been our primary U.S. distribution partners for Fair Isaac's scores for more than 15 years," said Tom Grudnowski, Fair Isaac's chief executive. "Now, the credit agencies are using their position to drive adoption of their own score to the detriment of our competing FICO score product and in conflict with their obligations to distribute our product."

Equifax, Experian and TransUnion did not immediately return calls for comment.

Shares of Fair Isaac were up 9 cents to $36.62 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Equifax's stock rose 51 cents to $36.46, also on the NYSE.