Ben & Jerry’s filed swimsuit in opposition to its mother or father firm Unilever on Tuesday in an effort to dam its sale of the Vermont-based brand’s Israel business to an area franchisee.
The left-leaning ice cream model, which is understood for championing liberal causes, alleged in a criticism filed in US District Court docket in Manhattan that Unilever’s “unilateral determination” was made with out board consent.
The ice cream firm stated an injunction blocking the sale was “important to protect the established order and defend the model and social integrity Ben & Jerry’s has spent a long time constructing.”
Ben & Jerry’s board of administrators voted 5-2 final Friday to authorize a authorized submitting in opposition to Unilever, based on particulars included within the model’s criticism. The dissenters had been two administrators appointed by Unilever.
The corporate requested a federal decide to dam the switch of Ben & Jerry’s trademark and model rights to any entity that will promote the product or use its brand within the West Financial institution with out prior board approval.
Representatives for Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever didn’t instantly return requests for touch upon the lawsuit.
Final week, Unilever stated it had reached an settlement to promote its Ben & Jerry’s enterprise in Israel to its present native franchisee, Avi Zinger, and his agency, American High quality Merchandise Inc.
The corporate famous Ben & Jerry’s board retained rights associated to its “social mission” however famous, “Unilever reserved main duty for monetary and operational choices and due to this fact has the appropriate to enter this association.”
Ben & Jerry’s founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, bought the corporate to Unilever in 2000 for $326 million.
“Unilever has used the chance of the previous yr to take heed to views on this complicated and delicate matter and believes that is the very best final result for Ben & Jerry’s in Israel,” the conglomerate stated in a press release on the sale. “The assessment included in depth session over a number of months, together with with the Israeli authorities.”
In July 2019, the ice cream model said it would end sales of its merchandise in Jewish settlements within the occupied West Financial institution. Zinger lately reached a settlement with Ben & Jerry’s for declining to resume his license, based on Reuters.
The Israeli authorities lauded the sale as a victory over “antisemites.” However the transaction drew a pointy public rebuke from Ben & Jerry’s.
The ice cream maker’s lawsuit got here simply days after the corporate stated a sale ran opposite to the model’s beliefs.
“We proceed to consider it’s inconsistent with Ben & Jerry’s values for our ice cream to be bought within the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” the corporate stated in a press release.