A UK court has dismissed Swedish oat drink giant Oatly’s claims of trademark infringement and passing off against British oat milk producer Glebe Farm.
The case was based on the use of the branding ‘PureOaty’ on Glebe Farm’s gluten-free oat milk.
The court hearing examined wide-ranging aspects of alleged relevant intellectual property, including choice of language and typefaces, the use of the colour blue, and the detail of a coffee cup appearing on the PureOaty pack.
The judge ruled out any likelihood of confusion between the PureOaty name and look of the carton, and any of the Oatly trademarks.
Further, the judge ruled against Oatly’s allegation that Glebe Farm intended to gain some unfair advantage, and having reviewed all the evidence and contemporaneous documents, was fully satisfied that there was no intention as attributed by Oatly.
'We Have Done Nothing Wrong'
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.
“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.”
Rayner also added that the company appreciates the huge support that PureOaty and Glebe Farm received from around the world, including 130,000 signatures on a change.org petition related to the matter.
He also emphasised that Glebe Farm never intended to be “an Oatly clone” and took pride in its product.
“It is enormously gratifying that the judge has ruled in our favour, and to see that smaller independent companies can fight back and win,” he said.
In May of this year, Oatly Group AB, which counts celebrities Oprah Winfrey and Natalie Portman among its backers, raised $1.4 billion in its US initial public offering.