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Swedish plant-based milk brand, Oatly, has been successful in its four-year battle with Dairy UK Ltd, the trade association for the British dairy industry. The dispute relates to Oatly’s use of the word ‘milk’ on its packaging, with Dairy UK contending that Oatly’s usage of the word in a trade mark for non-dairy products is not legally permissible.

Dairy UK cited EU regulations (Article 78(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013) in its submissions to the High Court. The regulation affords protected status to certain agricultural products, including dairy, and thereby restricts the use of the term ‘milk’ in the marketing and packaging of products.

In his judgment, HCJ Smith dismissed Dairy UK’s claim, asserting that Oatly’s “Post Milk Generation” mark does not claim, imply nor suggest that its products are in fact dairy-based. Oatly is therefore free to use the mark on its oat-based products.

Oatly’s victory will have significant ramifications for the plant-based food industry and future marketing and packaging strategies for the same. This may become increasingly significant given recent trends towards more plant-based alternatives.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniels Law on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.

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