Apple warned off brand-jacking UK TV company name

Apple is moving forward with its plans to launch a TV -- but what will it be called? Certainly not iTV says the independent UK broadcaster.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

Update: See below

Apple is moving forward with its plans to launch a TV set -- but what will it be called?  Certainly not iTV says the independent UK broadcaster.

Apple has been rumoured to be launching its hotly anticipated TV set as early as April this year.  TV companies in Canada are vying for the right to be launch partners when, and if, the TV Set launches.

ITV (Independent TeleVision) has been using its name for a long time.

ITV has been broadcasting since 1955 and is the original terrestrial commercial channel in the UK.  It has never changed its name, not rebranded. Instead the ITV portfolio has increased as other TV stations were acquired by the company.

Adam Crozier, chief executive of ITV has already been in contact with Apple over the issue and 'received assurances' that Apple would not use the name in the UK.  ITV has a 'very strong brand and highly valued IP' in the UK.

However, with new leadership at Apple, things might change.  Tim Cook, the new CEO might see things differently.  Apple has fallen into a pattern of naming new products with the prefix 'i' so it seems natural to assume that any new TV set would follow the same branding.  ITV has 'vigorously defended' its brand in the past.

Buying names

But of course, Apple could just pay ITV for the use of the trademark. Apple is no stranger to trademark battles.  It lost the use of the iPad trademark in China in December after obtaining it from Fujitsu.

It is not the first time that Apple has had to pay for the use of a name.  Cisco owned the trademark name iPhone until an agreement between the two companies in early 2007.  Cisco clearly had a trademark on the iPhone.  Now the name is used by both companies.

But with which company do you associate the iPhone name?

It has even been speculated that Apple, which has lots of money, could buy the TV channel just to use the ITV name freely.

Or perhaps it will use the iTV name anyway, and assume that the name will become as ubiquitous as the other 'i' brands.

Which might be what Apple assumes will happen anyway.


ITV has denied that there is any truth in the reports in the Telegraph today.  ITV said that "The Telegraph's piece is entirely speculative, and there has been no communication between ITV and Apple. ITV has no further comment on the matter."

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