Oatly, the Swedish plant-based milk leader which raised over $2 billion in a recent IPO, has entered a court battle with a Cambridgeshire farm over alleged trademark infringement. Oatly’s legal team has sought a High Court injunction to stop Glebe Farm Foods from using its PureOaty brand.
Oatly has taken Glebe Farm Foods, the David to its Goliath, to court – claiming PureOaty’s branding and packaging is too reminiscent of its own. Lawyers for Oatly state that when Glebe Farm rebranded its Oat Drink product as PureOaty in 2020, “Glebe Farm’s intention was to bring Oatly’s products to mind and thereby to benefit from the huge power of attraction and reputation of Oatly’s branding”, according to the Financial Times.
However, Glebe Farm disputes this and maintains its name simply reflects the “purity” of the product. Owner Phillip Rayner told the BBC: “Oatly says the name and packaging are too similar to theirs, but when we compare the two products side by side, we are surprised by this.”
The case at the London High Court continues. Oatly has recently revealed plans to launch its first factory in the UK in Peterborough, which will be one of the biggest facilities of its kind and employ over 200 people.
The Oatly claim is suggestive of recent cases, including Nestlé’s court battle with Impossible Foods over the use of the name “Incredible Burger”, whereby The Hague ruled that Nestlé had infringed upon Impossible’s trademarks. Nestlé was then challenged again by The Herbivorous Butcher for the Swiss conglomerate’s use of the phrase “vegan butcher”, which Minneapolis siblings The Herbivorous Butcher had originally coined back in 2015.