Ben & Jerry’s Lawsuit Against Unilever Dismissed

Aug. 23, 2022
A federal judge has rejected Ben & Jerry’s lawsuit against Unilever over the issue of selling ice cream in territory in the Middle East occupied by Israel.

A federal judge has rejected Ben & Jerry’s lawsuit against Unilever, its parent company, over the issue of selling ice cream in territory in the Middle East occupied by Israel.

The issue of sales in the occupied territories came to a head when Ben & Jerry’s tried to forbid its ice cream from being sold there. Unilever overruled the separate Ben & Jerry’s board, selling the Israeli business for the ice cream brand to a distributor who agreed to allow sales in the occupied territories.

The Ben & Jerry’s board sued, claiming that Unilever was breaching an agreement that it made when it bought the brand in 2000 to leave Ben & Jerry’s to make its own decisions on matters of social policy. However, a U.S. district judge dismissed the suit on Aug. 22, saying that Ben & Jerry's claims of harm were “too speculative.”

Judge Andrew Carter also noted that Ben & Jerry’s products sold in Israel would have Hebrew and Arabic trademarks, distinguishing them sufficiently from the company’s other products.

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