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December 1, 2011updated 19 Aug 2016 9:28am

Could the UK’s original ITV kill Apple iTV brand?

British broadcaster would have a strong case. Or would it?


ITV and Apple iTV

ITV, the largest commercial public service TV network in the UK, could move to block Apple’s planned launch of an internet-connected TV offering next year called iTV, CBR understands.

Launched in 1955 to provide competition to the BBC, the broadcaster has certainly been using the three-letter acronym for long enough. The lower case ‘i’ in Apple’s iTV may not be enough to differentiate if from ITV, and ITV plc uses the acronym in both lower and upper case formats (both ITV and itv).

The test of trademark infringement of course is whether the similarity is enough to cause customer confusion. Delta Airlines, Delta Faucet and Delta Dental can all coexist legally in the market because they are sufficiently different products or services to limit confusion.

While ITV does have internet-based television channels, the reports so far suggest that Apple iTV will be an internet-connected television. This could, perhaps, be dissimilar enough from ITV’s offerings – which include internet-driven television – so as not to warrant a court case. Or not.

CBR asked ITV whether it is concerned about the imminent launch of Apple iTV, and specifically whether it would attempt to block the use of the brands iTV or Apple iTV.

An ITV spokesman responded: "ITV is an extremely strong brand and a household name in the UK, established more than 50 years ago. We highly value our intellectual property rights and hold a large number of registered trade marks for both the ITV name and our logos."

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Make of that what you will.

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