Unilever Sends Letter To Firm In Israel Over Use Of 'Ben & Jerry's' Trademark

from the we-all-scream dept

A couple of weeks back, we discussed 2021’s thus-far dumbest controversy: Ben & Jerry’s ceasing to sell ice cream in “occupied Palestinian territory”. The ice cream maker is owned by Unilver and found itself in intellectual property news after a law firm in Israel seized upon Ben & Jerry’s announcement to not sell its wares in a few sections of Israel to suggest that meant it was relinquishing its trademark. To that end, the firm sought to register a company it named “Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream of Judea and Samaria.” This action was part of a possibly coordinated attack response on the company, which included action in the States such as Florida Man Governor Ron DeSantis suggesting this meant B&J’s was “boycotting Israel” and should be scrutinized for that, and Jewish leaders indicating that B&J’s ice cream may lose its kosher rating.

As I said, all very stupid. But the trademark claim might be the dumbest of them all. Trademark laws are designed to keep the public from being confused as to a source of a good and the Israeli firm’s actions appear to achieve the exact opposite end. It’s also the case that, in general, trademark law doesn’t simply repeal a valid trademark simply because a company temporarily ceases to sell a good in one small section of a geographic area for which it’s registered.

And, so, it’s should come as no surprise that Unilever has sent a letter to the firm, Shurat HaDin, warning that it intends to protect its valid marks.

“Unilever unequivocally rejects all your assertions set forth therein including that Univeler has abandoned its trademark rights for Ben & Jerry’s in what you refer to as the Judea and Samaria region of Israel.” A letter dated August 12 reads, signed by Natalia Cavaliere, in response to a letter sent by Shurat HaDin’s President Nitsana Darshan-Leitner that reads.

“Please note that we deem any use of the trademark or tradename Ben & Jerry’s to be a violation of our intellectual property rights.” The letter continues.

As well it should. B&J’s nor Unilever have not abandoned their trademarks in Israel in the slightest. Ceasing sales in these regions doesn’t change that. And it should be obvious to anyone looking at this story and its genesis that this is part of a practice among some in Israel to create diplomatic pressure on private entities that say or do anything they don’t like when it comes to Israeli politics.

Those politics, while certainly important on the global stage, have nothing to do with Unilever’s trademark rights. Which everyone, including Shurat HaDin, absolutely knows. Hopefully the Israeli government can correctly dispense justice.

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Companies: ben & jerry's, unilever

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Comments on “Unilever Sends Letter To Firm In Israel Over Use Of 'Ben & Jerry's' Trademark”

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16 Comments
Anonymoussays:

trademark law doesn’t simply repeal a valid trademark simply because a company temporarily ceases to sell a good in one small section of a geographic area for which it’s registered.

Alas that In N’ Out Burger can use that property of trademarks, to keep a trademark alive in a geographic area (Australia) for which it is registered.

Davidsays:

Don't hold your breath

Hopefully the Israeli government can correctly dispense justice.

Regarding conflicts between international law and nationalist/propaganda goals, that is not exactly a hope guaranteed to be vindicated by the Israeli governments of recent decades.

Meting out punishment to someone who crosses the lines of justice while pursuing radical Zionist interests is not really a core focus of recent governments.

What happens next will be telling more about politics than jurisprudence.

Anonymoussays:

Not sure i can trust the israeli courts when they allow jews to simply seize land and houses owned by arabs in certain area,s ,the courts tend to be biased towards settlers and jews to the extent of breaking international laws re human rights and property .
certain groups are terrified of any international boycotts no matter how minor as this is where the collapse of the south african government cane from in the 80s, .
in certain area,s arabs are treated like 2nd class citizens and their rights are ignored .
and of course any critics of isreal are branded as anti jewish or anti semitic

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

and of course any critics of isreal are branded as anti jewish or anti semitic

I feel like there’s two reasons for that. Linguistics would be the first — while it’s clear when read in context that your reference to the Israeli courts "allowing Jews to simply seize land and houses" is just describing the whole settler thing, someone who wasn’t quite as careful when reading could assume you were being a lot less narrowly targeted when talking about the courts letting Jews violate human rights.

Second, there’s the fact that while the Israeli government certainly benefits from conflating criticism of their policies with actual antisemitism, said antisemites benefit just as much. If to condemn Israel is to condemn the Jewish people, then the reverse is also true, and they can disguise their hatred by claiming it’s in response to legitimately bad things the Israeli government has done.

That Anonymous Cowardsays:

DeathSantis cares about more ice cream choices in Israel than the death count of his citizens.

Kosher ratings can be tied to political opinions?

It is nice to see in a world thats literally burning what is REALLY important…
(The immortal sociopath shakes his head and wonders how the fuck humanity is still around)

Davidsays:

Re: Re:

DeathSantis cares about more ice cream choices in Israel than the death count of his citizens.

Florida is pretty unique (in the world, actually) in that they only report Corona statistics (positive tests, fatalities and others) weekly. That keeps them out of the daily news.

Having people die in droves in higher population areas where infections are driven by schools is good for lowering the ratio of Democratic voters.

So it makes perfect sense that DeSantis is prohibiting local authorities from making health decisions catering to the necessities of the local situation. It is countering demographic change and thus catering to a major conservative issue.

Davidsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

It’s not a party policy as such: for example, McConnell has been advocating masking up and vaccination consistently, including spending campaign money on advertisements.

It’s "merely" one of the increasing number of fringe or outright lunatic rallying points that the growing demagogic faction of the Republican Party chooses for differentiating themselves from sanity.

Sanity has to adapt to the world, science, and knowledge, making it boring and unpleasant. Just take a look at how medical scientists are derided for changing the recommendations according to new insights and new developments.

Instead, taking a stand against unpopular necessities can be done consistently. If your audience is receptive enough to lies, you will never run out of scapegoats: there will always be someone else to fault for.

Take the spread of the Delta virus variant: it’s the fault of the Southern border policies. Never mind that the U.S. does not follow zero-COVID strategies like Australia where the introduction rather than the spread of the virus is tried to be kept under control. Never mind that the vast majority of infections is from U.S. citizen to U.S. citizen.

Florida does not need to follow medical sane practices not because the virus isn’t spreading and killing people there (it certainly is) but because there are scapegoats available: it’s all Biden’s fault! So let the corpses pile up, and let’s not mask our children’s precious smiles as their parents and grandparents die in the hospital hallways.

Joy Pricesays:

I hope this view me as anything less than the humanitarian that I believe I am, but gosh, if a certain party of people sheepishly believe ugly psycho mass murderer former political leaders that they can make America great and don’t have to wear masks because science is wrong, then well,maybe there will be less of them making bad decisions at the voting polls. 🙂

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