Sparks fly again over Apple's right to "iTV" name

Posted by Raven Lovecraft

If the speculation is true that Apple is going to brand its next version of the Apple TV as the "iTV," then it'll have a tough time facing the British broadcaster ITV, which one news outlet says is preparing legal action against Apple if necessary.

Mirror.co.uk is reporting this morning that ITV network executives are seeking out legal counsel over what their options would be if Apple does release a product called the iTV. The broadcaster is possibly looking to ask for a worldwide ban on the use of those three letters in a product name, even if the first one is trendily lower-case. The ITV logo, incidentally, shows all three letters in lower-case form.

Mirror quoted an insider on the issue as saying, "You only have to look at recent problems with the iPhone 4 to see not everything Apple produces is gold dust. We all take our ITV brand very seriously and we'll do everything in our power to protect it."

UK media site Guardian, though, notes that Apple considered calling its original Apple TV the iTV, but that was just a code name. It never intended to actually use that name for a final product.

That was long before the iPhone, iPad, and iTouch all became ubiquitous household names, though. Apple's use of the lower-case "i" is more valuable than ever, and it seems quite possible that the company would be more interested now in using it to help brand the new streaming media box. After all, it needs all the help it can get after the first Apple TV was a total flop.

Neither ITV nor Apple has confirmed that a pending legal battle could take place, and Apple has not even confirmed that it will use the iTV name. Nevertheless, this certainly wasn't something that British broadcasters ever thought would be an issue when it set up the ITV network in 1955.