Ben & Jerry’s is on its way to losing ownership of its brand in the settlements. The law association Shurat HaDin has submitted a request to the Registrar of Companies to register a company called “Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream of Judea and Samaria.” This would be in keeping with US law under which a company loses the right to trademark protection in areas in which it has stopped selling its product.
The law firm informed food giant Unilever that since it had given up selling Ben & Jerry’s ice creams in the “West Bank,” under US law, it had lost the right to protect the Ben & Jerry’s trademark in those areas. Shurat HaDin has already submitted an application to the Israeli Registrar of Companies to register the new brand “Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream of Judea and Samaria,” which will receive legal protection to sell the exact same ice cream, with the same trade name, and actually compete with the original company.
Shurat HaDin examined and found that under US law, in order to preserve the protection of a trademarked brand against use by other parties, there must be full intention to conduct business in a particular area. That is, in cases where a commercial brand is intended only to prevent another party from using the same label, without having any intention of operating in the same area, its request will not be approved. Therefore, once that person announces that he does not intend to operate in the same area, it means that he has no intention of using his trademark and his right to trademark will no longer stand.
Adv. Nitzana Darshan-Leitner, President of the Shurat HaDin Israeli Law Center, said: “Unilever is no longer able to enforce its trademark in these historical Jewish areas. These are our new weapons and approach to the war against BDS: anyone who stops selling their products in Israel will find that we will take over their trademarks and rights and sell the same products under their brand names. Ben & Jerry’s will regret the day they boycotted the State of Israel.”
Meanwhile, a number of US states have announced plans to consider divesting their pension funds from Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever, following the ice cream company’s decision not to sell its products in the Jewish settlements. Among the states that require their governments to stop doing business with companies that boycott Israel and are reviewing the situation are Texas, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Florida.
Texas State Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced that he has instructed his staff to decide whether Ben & Jerry’s or Unilever have indeed taken actions that are against the anti-boycott law. The Texas State Pension Fund invests over $100 million in companies, one of which is Unilever.
“Texas has made it clear that it stands by the State of Israel and the people of Israel. We are against all those who wish to harm the security of the State of Israel and its citizens. My office has a long history of supporting Israel. We have stopped investing in companies with ties to Iran,” said Hegar, who has even encouraged Texans to eat locally-produced Blue Bell ice cream, rather than the “foreign-owned” Ben & Jerry’s.
See also the remarks made to Israel Today by Ben & Jerry’s former graphic designer after she quit the company in protest: Ben & Jerry’s Suffers First Major Loss After Boycotting Jewish Settlers