by Tamera H. BennettJuly 8, 2007
Who knew "chunky monkey" ice cream had been the subject of litigation for almost 20 years? Chunky Monkey was the name given a Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor in 1988. Litigation soon followed by the creator of the Chunky Monkey cartoon creator, Pauline Comanor.
For two decades the parties have addressed and resolved issues of trademark infringement. Most recently, Chunky Monkey, LLC, the entity controlling the interest to the cartoon character, sued Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc. on May 15, 2007 in the New Jersey District Court (Trenton) for trademark infringement, trademark dilution, false designation of origin, and breach of their settlement and co-existence agreement (which has been amended twice).
Ben & Jerry's first used the trademark for ice cream in February 1988 and filed a trademark application in March 1998. No trademark applications for the cartoon character were filed until August 1989 with a date of first use in interstate commerce of 1974.
The current dispute stems from Ben & Jerry's use of the trademark on lip balm. Interestingly enough a search of the Ben & Jerry's website on July 8, 2007 does not yield any reference to the Chunky Monkey Lip Balm. There are other lip balm flavors available.