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Israeli NGO registers Ben & Jerry’s trademark in Judea & Samaria

Tel Aviv-based Shurat HaDin Law Center has reportedly registered a trademark for "Judea and Samaria's Ben & Jerry's" with Zionist flavors.

The Israeli NGO Shurat HaDin has moved to seize the Ben & trademark in the West Bank settlements and Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem so that it can produce and sell ice cream there under the well-known brand name.

Such a move was possible, according to Shurat HaDin, because the global Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company, Unilever, had announced plans to halt its sales to those areas as a political boycott against Israeli policies.

“The Shurat HaDin Law Center has now registered a commercial entity with the Israeli registry of corporations called “Judea and Samaria’s Ben & Jerry’s,” wrote Shurat HaDin’s President Nitsana Darshan-Leitner in a letter she sent to the British based global company Unilever, which has owned the Vermont based global Ben & Jerry’s since 2000.

“We intend to use the Ben & Jerry’s name and match the Vermont company’s current ice cream line, as well as add on new flavors and products,” Darshan-Leitner wrote, adding that “we are confident we can expand the business into each community in the territory you have abandoned.”

She told Unilever that it no longer had the right to use the Ben & Jerry’s label in that territory, even though the boycott is not due to start until 2023, when the existing contract with the local ice cream producer expires.

Avi Zinger, who owns the local Israel franchise, has been clear that he has no intention of withdrawing to the Green Line when it comes to ice cream sales.

Still, Shurat HaDin wrote to Unilever, “we will actively and aggressively defend our Ben & Jerry’s name, rights and trademarks in the area by all legal means.”

She explained to The Jerusalem Post that sales would be limited to only those areas which Ben & Jerry’s has withdrawn from. Unilever’s pledge to continue to sell to areas of Israel that are not part of “Occupied Palestinian Territory” means that the new Ben & Jerry’s can not be sold there.

Darshan-Leitner added that the bureaucratic and technical issues meant that in actuality, the ice cream sales would only begin once the contract with the existing Israeli franchise has expired.

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