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Diane von Furstenberg Sues After Fragrance Appears at TJ Maxx

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Have you noticed Diane von Furstenberg items at TJ Maxx and Marshalls stores? Well, they’re not supposed to be there. And soon, they might no longer be there, if Diane von Furstenberg Studio LP has its way.

Framingham based TJ Maxx is in the middle of a legal battle between designer Diane von Furstenberg and a distributor.

The distributor's contract was terminated in November. The London based company, ID Beauty International Ltd., had a license to distribute DVF gear to retailers.

But the distributor went rogue and began distributing to TJ Maxx, Marshalls and, reports Bloomberg News.

Why is von Furstenberg put off about this? Aside from a violation of contract, placing the designer items at discount chains waters down the brand. But does it amount to defamation?

In essence, the lawsuit is based on reputational damage. But it's not necessarily a defamation claim. Defamation involves a false statement which causes damage to one's reputation.

This current case is somewhat different. While the damage to the reputation of DVF is a huge part of the complaint, it's not the claim that the lawsuit is based on. Rather, the reputational damage is part of the breach of license claim, or rather, breach of contract.

The distributor was supposed to consult with DVF prior to making any distribution in lower retail channels. As a result, the von Furstenberg brand fragrance, Love to Diane, ended up at TJ Maxx prior to the end of a six month exclusivity period that DVF had with some high end retailers, reports Bloomberg.

The lawsuit is seeking a restraining order preventing the merchandise from appearing at TJ Maxx and at the other discount retailers.

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