Intellectual Property Partner, Claire Lehr recently wrote an article in World Trademark Review, examining the decision in Oatly AB v Glebe Farm Foods Limited ([2021] EWHC 2189 (IPEC)) which reiterated that even small differences in the marks, such as a hyphen or an exclamation mark, will be noticed by consumers.

Sitting as a deputy High Court judge, Mr Nicholas Caddick QC found that there was a “relatively low or, at best, very modest level of similarity” between the marks and the similarity resulted from the overlap in ‘oat’, which was descriptive/non-distinctive of the products – oat drinks. Following a detailed analysis of the global assessment, including how the respective marks were used, the court found there was no likelihood of confusion and dismissed all claims.

In January 2020 the family-run Glebe Farm Foods Limited rebranded its wholly descriptive product Oat Drink to PureOaty. Oatly AB and its UK subsidiary, Oatly UK Limited (together ‘Oatly’), complained and, in what has been described as a David and Goliath battle, sued Glebe Farms in the High Court for trademark infringement under Sections 10(2) and 10(3) of the Trademarks Act 1994 and in passing off, based on its rights in, among others, OATLY and OAT-LY!…

You can read the full article here (pdf).

This article first appeared on WTR Daily, part of World Trademark Review, in (August 2021). For further information, please go to www.worldtrademarkreview.com.


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