creditcard2.jpgLos Angeles – A federal appeals court has upheld an earlier decision from a U.S. District Court, which found that the Minneapolis-based Fair Isaac Corporation’s (FICO) trademark was not infringed on by a competitor.  In addition to reaffirming the lower court’s ruling, the federal court ordered the United States Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the FICO trademark.

The case began in 2006 when FICO alleged the joint credit-scoring system offered by Stamford, Connecticut-based VantageScore Solutions, LLC was too similar to its own and violated one of its trademarks.  In November 2009, FICO lost its original trademark lawsuit when a jury found that VantageScore’s 501-990 credit-score range was not confusingly similar to FICO’s credit-scoring range of 300-850. 

After its defeat, FICO immediately sought a re-trial, which was denied by a U.S. District Judge in May 2010.  As a result of the original decision being upheld, the order to cancel FICO’s 300-850 trademark registration will remain intact, according to VantageScore.

When asked to comment on the decision, FICO indicated that it believes the court’s ruling will have very 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,” a FICO spokesperson told a Minneapolis newspaper.  “As recent economic events have demonstrated, consumers need clarity about their own creditworthiness now more than ever.”

As Minnesota’s 40th-largest company, FICO reported revenue of $605.6 million for the fiscal year that ended in September 2010.