Designer Donald J. Pliner & Wife Reach Settlement With Former Label

DJP Holdings LLC has reached a settlement with its founder and former designer, Donald J. Pliner, and his wife, Lisa Pliner, in a trademark infringement suit filed against the couple last year.

Both sides settled their dispute last week, with the Pliners ultimately agreeing not to use their own names, likenesses or the terms “Mountains of Italy” and “Beaches of Spain” in connection with the sale, production or marketing of any fashion or lifestyle goods.

DJP Holdings LLC, the parent company of Donald J Pliner men’s and women’s footwear lines, filed a suit against the couple last August alleging breach of contract, trademark infringement, false advertising, deceptive trade practices and unfair competition after the Pliners attempted to debuted a new footwear collection at FN Platform.

In papers filed Aug. 1 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, DJP Holdings claimed that, in addition to offering “highly similar” products, the Pliners’ newly launched footwear business as well as the collections, From the Mountains of Italy and From the Beaches of Spain, “unfairly competed” with its products and put the designer and his wife in breach of contract.

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 and Lisa entered into agreements clearly and expressly prohibiting them from using their names and personality rights, as well as the marks and other branding associated with the business, to promote any footwear business in the future,” the company claimed in court documents.

While he had stayed on as creative director immediately after the sale, the designer said creative differences led to his departure in 2015.

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