A bathtub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, manufactured by Unilever Plc.
Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Ben & Jerry’s is suing parent company Unilever to cease the sale of its Israeli business to a neighborhood licensee, a transfer the patron merchandise large mentioned would preserve the ice cream merchandise accessible in Israel and its occupied territories.
Ben & Jerry’s mentioned in a lawsuit filed in federal courtroom in New York Tuesday that Unilever’s choice was made with out the approval of its impartial board, which has the first duty for safeguarding the integrity of its model’s title.
A decide on Tuesday denied Ben & Jerry’s utility for a brief restraining order however ordered Unilever to indicate trigger by July 14 for why a preliminary injunction shouldn’t be issued.
Representatives for Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
The go well with marks the newest improvement in an issue that was set off final yr when Ben & Jerry’s mentioned it will cease gross sales within the West Bank territory occupied by Israel for the reason that Six Day warfare in 1967.
Israel’s authorities sees the occupied territories as half of its financial system and any efforts to boycott business within the areas are seen as making use of to the nation. Stopping gross sales of the ice cream within the occupied territories would have ended gross sales all through Israel.
In its go well with, Ben & Jerry’s mentioned that its model is “synonymous with social activism” and that as half of its deal to be acquired by Unilever in 2000, it had reserved the “major duty for safeguarding the integrity” of the Ben & Jerry’s model via its impartial board.
It mentioned that Unilever had publicly acknowledged the model’s proper to make selections about its social mission. But then final week, Ben & Jerry’s mentioned Unilever “abruptly reversed course.”
Unilever announced last week that it offered the Israeli department of its Ben & Jerry’s business to American Quality Products, which licenses the ice cream merchandise in Israel. American Quality mentioned it will proceed promoting Ben & Jerry’s beneath Hebrew and Arabic names all through Israel and its occupied territories.
Despite the fitting of Ben & Jerry’s impartial board to make selections concerning the model’s social mission, Unilever mentioned in saying the sale that it had the fitting to enter into the settlement as a result of it had reserved major duty for monetary and operational selections.
After Unilever introduced the sale, Ben & Jerry’s mentioned in its lawsuit that its board held a particular assembly on Friday and voted to sue over the choice.
In an interview with CNBC after final week’s transfer by Unilever the Israeli licensor, Avi Zinger of American Quality Products, mentioned any potential lawsuit can be “between Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s. I have already got a deal.”
— CNBC’s Candice Choi contributed to this report.