Oatly sues UK oat milk brand Glebe Farm over alleged trademark infringement

Read Time:   |  16th June 2021

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Oat milk giant Oatly is pursuing a High Court Injunction against UK based oat brand Glebe Farm over an alleged trademark infringement

Oat milk giant Oatly is pursuing a High Court Injunction against UK-based oat brand Glebe Farm over alleged trademark infringement right.

Oatly’s lawyers have claimed the packaging and the name on Glebe Farm’s ‘PureOaty’ oat milk product is too similar to Oatly’s plant-based milk carton.

The company’s products both come in a classic milk-style carton with a blue finish and feature a teacup illustration on the front.

The hearing took place over two days last week and the result of the case is expected to be announced in mid-July.

Oatly vs Glebe Farm

Glebe Farm is a family-run, independent business based in Cambridgeshire that produces locally farmed gluten-free oats and processes them into GF porridge flakes, flour, and of course oat milk.

The Cambridge-based company was allegedly contacted by Oatly representatives in early 2020 regarding the similarities of the company’s products and told these were an infringement on Oatly’s trademark.

Glebe Farm Owner Farmer Phillip Rayner said the PureOaty name was “a nod to the purity of the product”.

“Oatly says the name and packaging is too similar to theirs, but when we compare the two products side by side, we are surprised by this.”

Furthermore, a spokesperson for Oatly spoke with Vegconomist, sharing: “We approached Glebe Farms in a letter in early 2020 telling them we think their branding infringed our trademark.

“We, unfortunately, did not receive a constructive response from them. We are therefore now involved in an ongoing court case, and we have no further comment as we await the results.”

The news of the recent court case comes weeks after Oatly went public with IPO shares, valued at a staggering $10 billion.

Public response

Over the years, Oatly has built a plant-based cult following. The brand quickly became a household name and was commended for its efforts in making plant-based dairy products accessible.

Despite its reputation, people have condemned the plant-based brand for its recent legal actions. Many followers were surprised by the injunction, taking to social media claiming the brand is ‘bullying’ the independent business.

One Instagram user commented: “I am a big fan of Oatly…. but seriously… trying to take down small independent competitor because of a bogus Copywrite infringement… that’s low. It’s not you.”

Moreover, an independent vegan coffee shop has even started a petition, demanding the oat milk giant renege its injunction on Glebe Farms immediately, igniting a #freePureOaty campaign.

As we move into a plant-based era, it is vital we support and encourage independent businesses to start new vegan ventures.

Not sure which plant-based milk to use? Here is how to choose the best vegan milk to use in different recipes

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