A Portland Vegan Ice Cream Company Is Forced to Rebrand After a Trademark Battle With Gerber Baby Foods

Little Bean is now Little Chickpea after Gerber decided to retain a trademark for its discontinued Lil’ Beanies brand.

A Portland vegan ice cream brand is rebranding after a trademark tussle with baby-food maker Gerber.

Little Bean—the dairy-free, chickpea-based ice cream restaurant from Portland restauranteur Micah Camden—has changed its name to Little Chickpea after Gerber decided to retain a trademark for Lil' Beanies, its discontinued brand of baby food. Eater first reported the name change.

Camden tells WW that the decision to rebrand will allow Little Chickpea to be sold in retail stores like New Season and Whole Foods. He hopes to make the chickpea ice cream available in grocery stores at the start of next year.

Related: Little Bean Proves Chickpea Ice Cream Isn't as Weird as It Sounds.

Camden came up with the name Little Bean a little over a year ago before the Northwest storefront opened. He says that when he applied for a trademark he was initially told "everything looked good," but then the trademark office informed him that he might "run into an issue with Gerber."

"Our lawyers reached out to theirs and they said they had discontinued the line and had no intention of doing anything with it," Camden says. So he opened his store and decided to re-apply for the trademark in a year. But Gerber still wouldn't budge.

"They said they had no intention of using the trademark but they will keep it until it expires," Camden says. "We don't have three to four years to wait."

Camden says the rebrand "really wasn't cheap," but he's optimistic that the new name will more clearly signal to customers what the product is.

"There was a little bit of confusion around calling it Little Bean," Camden says. "People were asking what kind of bean, if it was soy or pea protein, which is what other people are doing. Now we've lined up our brand as a claim of who we are and what we do."

Related: Other Portland Chefs Want to Make Food Into Art. Micah Camden Makes Money.