Oat milk business Glebe Farm wins major trademark infringement case brought by Oatly

UK-based oat milk producer Glebe Farm, a well-established milling and cereal production firm, has won a legal case brought against it by specialist drinks business Oatly, over alleged trademark infringement, reports Neill Barston.

The Huntingdon-based arable company has more than three decades of industry experience, but its brand PureOaty was considered to be too close to the complainant’s series of products – which British judges last week rejected.

Consequently, courts ruled to dismiss the claims against Glebe Farm for its present range – which also has application for creating ice cream, over trade mark infringement and passing off – backed by a major public petition in support of the defendants in the case.

Oatly reportedly stated in the case that its branding would be left open to abuse from other companies with similar names should its claim not be upheld – which courts did not accept.

Phillip Rayner, owner and Managing Director of Glebe Farm, commented: “We have had the threat of this court case – which has pitched our challenger brand against Oatly’s multinational business – looming over us for more than a year. We have always felt certain that we have done nothing wrong, and we were determined to fight Oatly’s claims that our brands were similar – something that is now proven to be wrong.

“You only need to look at the two products and packaging side by side to appreciate how different these brands are, and how unnecessary this legal action was.

“We greatly appreciate the huge support that PureOaty and Glebe Farm have received from around the world including 130,000 signatures on a change.org petition; and many comments online have described this as a true David and Goliath battle.”

Oatly has claimed that this legal action is just standard business practice. However, it was very clear to us that this was not the case. We decided it was time to stand up to this behaviour, and that in our view ‘corporate might does not make right,” adding that although Oatly had claimed to offer constructive dialogue before the case, the threat of legal action over it did not offer any compromise.

Following the verdict, according to national reports, Oatly said it accepted the judgement and ‘wished Glebe Farm well,’ in its endeavours within the segment.

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