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Udderly Bovine

July 1, 2021, By

The last few years have seen a massive rise in consumer interest in alternatives to traditional dairy products (for both health and conscience reasons). This has led to an explosion in alternative products available on the market from almond to oat milk, the latter of which has seen perhaps the biggest rise in consumer spending.

With the UK market share alone purportedly worth £250m, it is little wonder that brands in the sector are stepping up their efforts to protect their intellectual property rights. This has led to the Swedish based company “Oatly” recently lodging proceedings against Glebe farm in Cambridgeshire claiming trade mark infringement over its brand “PureOaty”.

Oatly v PureOaty

Glebe Farm is a farm in Cambridgeshire which purports to be the only farm in the UK growing and processing gluten free oats and launched their brand a little over 18 months ago. Oatly claims that they wrote to the owners of Glebe farm in early 2020 regarding the similarity between the two companies’ products and overall branding however they did not receive a satisfactory response.

As a result, Oatly has recently lodged proceedings for both infringement of its trade mark and the general appearance of its product packaging (both coming in traditional ‘milk cartons’) at the Intellectual Property Court, a specialist division of the High Court. The two day trial began on Wednesday, 9 June and a decision is expected to be reached in early July.

Briffa comment

This case goes to show the importance of securing both trade marks and registered designs for your business and conducting due diligence on competitors before launching a new brand. Here at Briffa, the team benefits from over 25 years’ experience assisting with trade mark and design claims in nearly every jurisdiction in the world and we are able to assist in all aspects of the process from initial filing to enforcement. If you need any further information in this regard please do feel free to get in touch with us via [email protected].

Written by Tom Synott, Associate Solicitor

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