Glebe Farm Foods has won its legal battle against Oatly after the Swedish oat milk company took it to court over trademark infringement claims.
Today, the judge rejected Oatly’s claims of trademark infringement and passing off – finding no likelihood of confusion between Glebe Farm’s PureOaty sign and carton and any of the Oatly trademarks.
Oatly took the UK manufacturer to court over claims that its use of the PureOaty name for its gluten-free oat milk and packaging redesign was too similar and “intended to take unfair advantage of the distinctive character or repute of the Oatly trademarks”.
The court hearing examined wide ranging aspects of the beverage including the choice of language and typefaces, the use of the colour blue, and the detail of a coffee cup on its pack.
However, the judge Nicholas Caddick said “these similarities are at a very general level and I do not agree with Mr Hicks’ [representative of Oatly] suggestion that the defendant’s initial packaging was anywhere near approaching the line between what was and what was not acceptable”.
The judge also ruled against Oatly’s allegation that Glebe Farm intended to gain some unfair advantage.
Phillip Rayner, owner and managing director of Glebe Farm, said: “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.
“It is enormously gratifying that the judge has ruled in our favour, and to see that smaller independent companies can fight back and win. The facts are that we have never wanted to be an Oatly clone. Pride in our own product aside, as British farmers we do not agree with any brand that comes across as anti-farming in its approach.”
According to a statement by Oatly: “The court ruled in favour of Glebe Farm, the judge recognised Oatly’s strong brand and uniqueness but felt the similarities weren’t enough to rule in our favour.
“We’ve collected the main documents of the case for you to read as it was presented to the court. The reason is because we believe in transparency and we want you to be able to form your own opinion about the case.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2021
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