Survivor co-founders land in court over use of band's name to promote career of departed member Peterik

By Jonathan Bilyk | Jan 11, 2016

The classic rock band Survivor has asked a federal judge to kill the lights and cut the mic on the use of the iconic Chicago area band’s name and other identifying marks in promoting solo performances by former band member and fellow Survivor founder, Jim Peterik.

On Jan. 11, Survivor founding member Frank Sullivan, of Palatine, and Mokena-based Survivor Music Inc. filed suit in Chicago federal court against Peterik, of Burr Ridge, alleging the musical artist has repeatedly violated a 1995 agreement he and the band struck when Peterik launched his career as a solo artist.

Peterik and Sullivan were among the musicians who founded Survivor in 1977, and continued to play with the band until 1996, when Peterik abruptly left the band after a performance in suburban Lisle.

According to the complaint, Peterik agreed in 1996 to give Survivor Music Inc., now led solely by Sullivan, sole use of the band’s name and trademark until Dec. 31, 2025. Peterik and other departed band members can only use the mark with written consent from Survivor Music.

However, Sullivan and Survivor Music alleged in the complaint that Peterik has continued to use the band’s name and mark to promote his performances and music.

“Despite Peterik’s voluntary departure from the band and relinquishment of all ownership interest in Survivor Music Inc. and in the Survivor mark, he has used the Survivor mark in connection with and to promote his post-departure activities in Illinois and in interstate commerce, without authorization from Sullivan or from Survivor Music Inc.,” Sullivan’s complaint said. “For example his booking agent, Paradise Artists, promotes Peterik’s solo career with the description, ‘co-founder of Survivor,’ and Peterik’s autobiography is subtitled, ‘The Rock ‘N’ Roll Life of Survivor’s Founding Member.’”

The complaint alleged Peterik’s use of Survivor’s name and mark misleads audiences into believing “Peterik remains a member or is otherwise affiliated with the band.”

In his complaint, Sullivan alleged Peterik has breached his agreement with Survivor Music Inc., has violated Survivor’s trademark and has violated federal and state deceptive practices and consumer fraud laws.

Sullivan has asked the court to slap an injunction on Peterik, forbidding the Survivor co-founder from using the Survivor name or mark “in any manner relating to the any manner relating to the promotion of entertainment services or related products that creates a likelihood of confusion or mistake with respect to his affiliation with or connection to” Survivor.

Sullivan has also asked the court to order Peterik to inventory and destroy all promotional materials that bear the name Survivor. And Sullivan further has demanded Peterik pay damages, including all profits he has allegedly earned from using the Survivor marks and repay “any damages sustained by Sullivan and Survivor Music” from his alleged use of the trademarks.

Sullivan is represented in the action by the firm of McGarry & McGarry, of Chicago.

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