VantageScore Solutions LLC, a joint venture of the three credit rating agencies, has prevailed against Fair Isaac Corp. in a lawsuit that alleged anti-trust, trademark infringement and false advertising.

The decision, announced Wednesday by a U.S. Court of Appeals in Minneapolis, said that Fair Isaac does not have exclusive rights to numerical consumer credit scores. Its FICO scores range from 300 to 850.

"Today's verdict is a victory for Experian and for American consumers," Kerry Williams, group president of credit services and decision analytics at Experian Information Solutions Inc., said in a press release. "By preventing FICO from further stifling competition in the marketplace, the jury's decision will increase consumer choice in credit scoring."

Experian, Equifax, Inc., and TransUnion LLC own VantageScore, which provides an alternative credit rating with numbers that range between 501 and 990.

Experian said in a press release that its numbers more “naturally align” with better-known A, B, C, D and F grade intervals. Experian said the score system is used by four of the five top financial institutions in the U.S. It is also used by eight of the top 10 credit card issuers.

VantageScore said in a press release that JPMorgan Chase & Co. is among the top banks that use it.

In an interview with American Banker last week, Barrett Burns, president and chief executive of VantageScore, claimed its credit rating is superior to other models because it could score more consumers, including the underbanked, who typically have either thin or no credit files.

It does this through a patented process that examines nontraditional information, such as rental data, and the first six months of a consumer’s credit history, which Burns says that FICO score does not use.

Fair Isaac first filed its lawsuit in October 2006, following the launch of VantageScore. Fair Isaac said by email that the ruling "will have little impact" on its business, because FICO scores are "the most trusted and most-used measure of consumer credit risk among lenders."

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