US judge shoots down injunction request from Ben & Jerry’s to prevent Israel deal

Luke Tress is a JTA reporter and a former editor and reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

US federal judge shoots down an injunction request from Ben & Jerry’s that was filed as part of the ice cream maker’s legal battle over sales in Israeli settlements.

Ben & Jerry’s had sought to prevent its parent firm Unilever from transferring intellectual property and branding to Ben & Jerry’s Israel, which Unilever granted independence in a settlement earlier this year. Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever are locked in a rare lawsuit between a major company and its parent firm, as Ben & Jerry’s seeks to block its ice cream from being sold in Israeli settlements.

The Vermont-based company argued in the injunction request that its Israeli branch could take new flavors and change their branding to pro-settlement slogans, undermining the Ben & Jerry’s social image. Ben & Jerry’s also said conflicting labeling could confuse consumers.

In response, a judge in New York’s Southern District federal court says “neither reason suffices” to order the move. “Such purported harm is too speculative,” the judge says, agreeing with the arguments put forward by lawyers for Ben & Jerry’s Israel during a hearing earlier this month.

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