Sullivan & Survivor Music, Inc. v. Bickler, No. 18 C 3770, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jan. 25, 2019) (Lee, J.).

Judge Lee denied defendant Bickler’s, the former lead singer of the band Survivor, Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) & (6) motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ (collectively “Survivor”) Lanham Act claims related to the alleged misuse of its SURVIVOR trademarks.

Personal Jurisdiction

Bickler’s royalty-based interactions with Survivor did not create general or specific jurisdiction. Furthermore, Survivor offered no evidence that Bickler directed his alleged use of the SURVIVOR marks at Illinois. And Bickler no longer lived in Illinois. But Bickler’s contract-based interactions were a different matter. Bickler negotiated and signed the agreement while both he and Survivor were Illinois residents. As such, Bickler should have expected that he could be sued in Illinois.

Failure to State a Claim

Survivor sufficiently pled ownership of the SURVIVOR marks and that Bickler allegedly infringed them. Bickler argued that he had a First Amendment right to artistic expression which allowed the use of SURVIVOR and that he was using it in a non-trademark manner. But neither of those issues were properly decided at the Rule 12 stage.