The Real Reason Ben And Jerry's Just Lost Its Lawsuit Against Unilever

Ben & Jerry's may be most well-known for their funky ice cream flavors, but they also have a history of being politically active. Their website states that they support voting rights, LGBTQ+ rights, racial justice, campaign finance reform, and climate change justice.

Back in July, the Ben & Jerry's board voted 5 to 2 to sue Unilever — the ice cream brand's parent company — in an attempt to "protect the brand and social integrity," per The Guardian. In July 2021, Ben & Jerry's made the decision to halt sales of their ice cream in West Bank, an area of tension between Israel and Palestine.

Tasting Table previously reported that Unilever had sold the rights to sell Ben & Jerry's ice cream to Avi Zinger of American Quality Products. The ice cream was to be sold under a different name and packaging, though the flavors would remain the same. The suit would have prevented the sale of Ben & Jerry's ice cream in the West Bank; now, a judge has issued a ruling in the case.

Ben & Jerry's had a hypothetical case

Unilever argued that the suit would not change the deal, as it had already closed, reports BBC News, while Ben & Jerry's stated that they did not want their stance on social issues to be undermined through the deal. After Unilever purchased the ice cream brand in 2000, Ben & Jerry's retained an independent board to preserve the company's values.

New York's District Judge Andrew Carter ruled against Ben & Jerry's on Monday, August 22, stating that the harm they predicted was "speculative" and the scenario was too hypothetical, per Food Dive. The judge also brought up the fact that the ice cream will not be sold under the Ben & Jerry's name, and it will instead be sold under Hebrew and Arabic names, so it will not be associated with the English name trademark.

Since the deal was ruled fair by the judge, it looks like Ben & Jerry's ice cream will be heading back to Israel and Palestine after all.