Just as FN Platform is revving up this week in Las Vegas, so is the legal battle between two brands that are set to the show at the event.
DJP Holdings LLC, the parent company of Donald J Pliner men’s and women’s footwear lines, has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent its founder and former designer, Donald J. Pliner, and his wife, Lisa Pliner, from moving forward with their new shoe venture until a decision is made in an ongoing trademark suit.
In the new filing, made in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware on Friday, DJP Holdings has asked the court to intervene and, at least temporarily, prevent Donald and Lisa Pliner from using Donald Pliner’s likeness, the names Donald J. Pliner and Lisa Pliner in any variation and DJP’s patented mountains/beaches marks.
In its initial lawsuit, filed on Aug. 1, DJP Holdings had accused Donald and Lisa Pliner of breach of contract, trademark infringement, false advertising, deceptive trade practices and unfair competition after the designer revealed his latest collections: From the Mountains of Italy and From the Beaches of Spain.
DJP Holdings claims that, in addition to offering “highly similar” products, the Pliners’ newly launched footwear business as well as the new collections “unfairly compete” with its products and puts the designer and his wife in breach of contract. The suit further accuses the pair of using company trade secrets such as confidential customer lists.
In 2011, Donald J. Pliner sold a majority stake in his namesake brand to private equity firm Castanea Partners, which backs DJP Holdings. DJP claims that as a part of the sale, “and in exchange for a considerable payment” all of the trademarks and other intellectual property associated with the Donald J Pliner brand were transferred to the firm.
Donald Pliner insisted in an exclusive interview with Footwear News on Aug. 5 that he was legally allowed to pursue his new venture after sitting out for one year due to a noncompete clause. In another interview with FN on Monday, Pliner said he would continue with his plans to show at FN Platform this week.
DJP is also seeking monetary damages as well as a permanent injunction against the Pliners.