J.P. Licks forced to stop using the word Oreo
As anyone who’s seen “Animal House” knows, there’s nothing quite like a good food fight. The one currently being waged against Jamaica Plain-based ice cream maker J.P. Licks may not be messy, but it’s nonetheless upsetting. It seems that the corporate behemoth that owns Oreo is demanding that J.P. Licks owner Vincent Petryk stop using the trademarked word “Oreo” in its Oreo Cookie Dough ice cream and frozen yogurt. In a bloodless, vaguely bullying letter to Petryk, the food and beverage conglomerate Mondelez International said the ice cream chain either needs to pay for the privilege of using the word “Oreo” or drop it. “They sent us a proposal and said we’d have to become a long-form license-agreement third-party manufacturer,” said Petryk. (Whatever that means.) If you’re wondering why a corporation that owns Oreo, Chips Ahoy, Triscuit, Cadbury, Trident, and Chiclets would waste its time with Petryk, owner of 13 ice cream parlors in Massachusetts, you’re not alone. But it’s happened before. In the mid-1990s, riffing on Ben & Jerry’s popular “Cherry Garcia,” J.P. Licks concocted something with cherry ice cream, chocolate chips, and chunks of cherries, and called it “Cherry Garciaparra.” (Not coincidentally, the Red Sox star shortstop at the time was Nomar Garciaparra.) In that case, Petryk made a small fuss — “I was disappointed they didn’t have more of a sense of humor — and Ben & Jerry’s eventually relented. Not this time. We weren’t able to reach anyone at Mondelez International, but their lawyers have made it clear they’re not backing down. So Petryk is looking for a new name. (The ingredients, including Oreo, are staying the same.) You can e-mail suggestions to Oreo@jplicks.com until Thursday at midnight. What does the winner get? Bragging rights, a shout-out on social media, a tour of the production plant in J.P., and, of course, a free quart of ice cream.