Chief Illiniwek logo lawsuit dismissed
URBANA – A federal lawsuit by Jack Davis, the designer of the Chief Illiniwek logo, against the University of Illinois Board of Trustees was dismissed today.
U.S. Central District of Illinois Chief Judge Michael McCuskey dismissed the suit, ruling that the federal court has no jurisdiction for the breach-of-contract claim by Davis.
In 1980, Davis, a graphics designer and UI graduate, created the circle-shaped logo featuring an image of an American Indian man in headdress and chest plate. He was paid $210 by the university for the logo.
In March 2007, Davis applied for and was rejected for a trademark. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled the university already registered the logo.
In January, Davis sued the university, claiming there had been an oral agreement with former UI associate athletic director Vance Redfern that if the logo was rejected or discontinued by the trustees, it would revert to Davis.
Davis claimed in his suit that the UI trustees formally declared that the university would officially abandon all future use of the logo, as well as the names "Chief Illiniwek" and "Chief" in order to comply with NCAA rules.
In April this year, attorneys for the UI filed a motion to dismiss the Davis suit, arguing that the federal court does not have jurisdiction over a contract dispute. Furthermore, the UI argued and McCuskey agreed, the claims by Davis are barred by immunity laws that prohibit suits against the state.