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Oatly cartons various
Image credit: Oatly

Brief: Oatly sues UK farm over PureOaty plant-based milk brand

June 14, 2021

  • Oatly has asked the UK High Court to stop local firm Glebe Farm Foods from selling oat milk products under its PureOaty brand.
  • The Swedish company — which went public in a $1.43 billion New York IPO last month — said it had contacted Glebe Farm in early 2020 to claim that PureOaty infringes its trademark rights. Its legal team argues that 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.”
  • Glebe Farm owner Phillip Rayner claims his company had opted for the PureOaty name 18 months ago in “a nod to the purity of the product,” rather than to allude to Oatly’s branding. “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,” he told the BBC.

Why it matters:

Oatly was valued at $13 billion after its IPO last month, and had previously secured investment from the likes of Blackstone and Rabobank – as well as celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Natalie Portman, and Jay-Z.

“Although Oatly are much bigger than us, we do not believe we have done anything wrong. And aside from fighting their claim as it is, there are deeper principles at play here for us as a family farming business,” Rayner said.

A spokesperson for Oatly said it had “received no constructive response” from Glebe Farm following its initial cease-and-desist letter and will not comment further until the trial concludes.

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