The U.S. federal court has rejected Ben & Jerry's attempt to stop its parent company, Unilever, from selling ice cream in the West Bank of Israel. According to The Jerusalem Post, U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter ruled on Monday, August 22, that Ben & Jerry's did not deserve an injunction to halt sales and marketing because it did not prove that the company would suffer harm from it.
Ben & Jerry's originally filed suit against Unilever in July, claiming the sale of its Israeli business to local licensee Avi Zinger violated their agreement from Unilever's purchase of the ice cream company back in 2000. Zinger had filed suit in New Jersey, where Unilever is based, when Ben & Jerry's had announced it would be ending its contract with his company American Quality Products (AQP) in order to end sales in "Occupied Palestinian Territories." Zinger stated that the company's move was an unlawful termination of an existing business relationship, and ultimately purchased the Israeli-based factory and storefront in June of this year from Unilever in order to continue production and sales.
Among the various claims made by Ben & Jerry's to halt sales in Israel was the possibility of creating "confusion" among regular consumers, specifically in the event that Zinger may introduce new products to the market. Judge Carter remarked in his verdict that "Ben & Jerry's has offered no evidence of such confusion or the impact of the alleged confusion," and that there are no trademarking issues given that the packaging is marked in Hebrew and Arabic.