Family-run farm near Peterborough in court over trademark dispute with drinks giant

The owners of a small farm near Peterborough are embroiled in a legal battle with drinks giant Oatly.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 2:50 pm
The Oatly branding, left, and Glebe Farm's packaging, right.
The Oatly branding, left, and Glebe Farm's packaging, right.

The family-run Glebe Farm Foods, based at Kings Ripton, has been challenged by the Sweden headquartered oat milk maker Oatly over the name of the farm’s new oat milk product.

Oatly claims a product called PureOaty that was marketed by Glebe Farm 18 months ago represents a trademark infringement.

Oatly, which is in the process of opening a huge manufacturing centre at Peterborough Gateway that will create hundreds of jobs, is seeking an injunction to stop sales of the PureOaty brand and for the recall and removal of all infringing goods.

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A two day hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London ended yesterday and a decision is expected by July 23.

After the hearing, Phillip Rayner, owner of Glebe Farm, said: “This week the oat drink manufacturer Oatly is pushing forward a court case against my company, a long-established and reputable oat milling business.

“Over the past 18 months we have been making Oat Milk using our own British farmed oats, but now Oatly is trying to prevent us from using the name ‘PureOaty’ - a nod to the purity of our product- and our current packaging.

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

“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 in wanting to challenge back.”

A spokesman for Oatly said: “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.”

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