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M. Arthur Gensler, Jr. & Assocs., Inc. v. Strabala

EASTERBROOK, Circuit Judge. After leaving Gensler, an ar-­‐‑ chitectural firm with projects throughout the world, where he had been a Design Director, Jay Marshall Strabala opened his own firm, 2Define Architecture. Strabala stated on its web site (http://www.define-­‐‑arch.com/en/featured), on his personal Flickr site, or both, that he had designed five pro-­‐‑ jects for which Gensler is the architect of record: Shanghai Tower, Hess Tower, Three Eldridge Place, the Houston Ballet Center for Dance, and the headquarters of Tesoro Corpo-­‐‑ ration. Gensler contends that Strabala’s statements, a form of “reverse passing off” in the argot of this field, violate §43(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §1125(a). But the district judge dismissed the complaint, ruling that, because Strabala did not say that he built or sold these structures, he could not have violated §43(a). 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21255 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 21, 2012). The court then dismissed Gensler’s state-­‐‑law claims, relying on its concession that the outcome of its fed-­‐‑ eral-­‐‑law claim controls the whole suit. 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21255 at *8–9.

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