High Court Dismisses Oatly’s Attempt To Sue Small Family Oat Business The family farm in England was sued for trademark infringement - Media Credit: Glebe Farm Foods

High Court Dismisses Oatly’s Attempt To Sue Small Family Oat Business

The High Court concluded that the family run farm will not have to change its name or packaging

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2 Minutes Read

A family farm in Cambridgeshire, England just won its legal battle against international vegan milk brand Oatly.

The Swedish oat milk company – which sells its products in 60,000 retail stores – sued Glebe Farm Foods earlier this year over alleged trademark infringement.

Glebe Farm Foods

Glebe Farm Foods is a 30-year-old oat milling business that began making oat milk last year.

Oatly accused the family farm of using similar packaging to sell its dairy-free milk. It also claimed Glebe Farm’s brand name, PureOaty, was too similar to its own.

Oatly requested that the business change its packaging and name, and sought damages and costs.

Today the High Court voted in favor of PureOaty, concluding that consumers are unlikely to confuse the two companies.

It also disagreed with the claim that Glebe Farm intentionally tried to mimic Oatly’s packaging.

Philip Rayner, owner of Glebe Farm, said: “It is enormously gratifying that the judge has ruled in our favour, and to see that smaller independent companies can fight back and win.”

Jeremy Blum led the Bristows legal team that represented the family farm.

“The result is hugely satisfying for a great British manufacturer who stuck to its principles in defending its right to use descriptive elements in its branding,” Blum commented.

“Further, the decision confirms how the creation of PureOaty was not done to gain any unfair advantage. I am delighted for our client”.

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Oatly faces backlash

Many people criticized the oat milk giant for the lawsuit. When news broke that Oatly was taking Glebe Farm to court, a petition was created to show support for the small business. It amassed 130,000 signatures.

A spokesperson for Oatly said: “For all of you who have been following our case with Glebe Farm, well the verdict is in, and we lost. And while to some, this might be seen as vindication for small oat drink companies over big oat drink companies, we actually never saw it that way.

“For us, this case has always been about protecting our trademark and how the single letter Y creates too much of a similarity between OATY and OATLY.”

They added: “If we were to let one company pass because they, like Glebe Farm, seem to be one of the good guys, that might leave the door open for the bad ones.”

The spokesperson clarified that Oatly ‘loves all oat drink companies’ and did not file the lawsuit to damage the company.

“In fact, we want them to thrive and help bring products into the world that are good for the planet. We just think they should do so in their own unique voice, just like we do,” they said, adding that Oatly wishes Glebe Farm ‘total success’.

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The Author

Jemima Webber

Jemima is the Head of Editorial of Plant Based News. Aside from writing about climate and animal rights issues, she studies psychology in Newcastle, Australia (where she was born).

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Romeo romeo
Romeo romeo
10 months ago

Oh Oatly more reasons why not to bother with you anymore. I feel even better about it now actually after hearing about this. Plus it was making me a bit chunky. I Wish them the best, but we won’t be a customer.

P.S. this was a difficult choice for us because me and my family were a fan of the fattening oat drink, plus we wanted to support a vegan company. But we will do better and try to support smaller vegan companies. Best

Andrea Grasselli
Andrea Grasselli
10 months ago

Nice to see that a «small» can win against a «big».
Moreover, the packaging does not seem similar at all to me.

natasha P.
natasha P.
10 months ago

Awesome they won. Oatly is mean.

Rob Dexter
Rob Dexter
10 months ago

Excellent news! Justice is done. The name and packaging are not similar except in Oatly’s fevered minds. Don’t forget that Oatly are 30% owned by the Chinese government. Another good reason to boycott them.

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