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Apple could face a fight over the 'iTV' brand--should it go that way

The Telegraph claims that British TV network ITV has warned Apple off the name iTV for any TV products. But ITV denies that report.


Should Apple use the "iTV" moniker for its widely expected smart TV, it may entangle the company in a legal mess. Or it may not.

British TV network ITV has reportedly warned Apple not to use the brand name iTV for its upcoming smart TV product. The U.K. broadcaster may have even received assurances from Apple in 2010 that the iPhone maker would not christen any upcoming TV products with the iTV name.

At least, that's the scoop according to the U.K. Telegraph.

But ITV is denying the report, claiming it's had no such conversations with Apple and labeling the Telegraph's story as less than accurate.

ITV provided CNET with the the following statement:

"The Telegraph's piece is entirely speculative and there has been no recent dialogue between ITV and Apple on this subject."

Of course, Apple has yet to even acknowledge the development of a so-called smart TV, let alone reveal what it plans to name it. Reports and rumors have swirled that the company would compete in the TV market with its own branded television set.

Piper Jaffray's Apple analyst Gene Munster floated the idea as far back as 2009, speculating that Apple would enter the market sometime in 2011. The story gained more traction last year after it was revealed that the late Steve Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson that he wanted to create a revolutionary television.

Since then a report has surfaced that Apple has been hunting for suppliers. Canadian carriers Rogers and Bell have also reportedly been lab testing an Apple TV controlled both by voice and movement, similar to Microsoft's Kinect, according to the Telegraph.

Munster now believes such a TV could reach consumers by the end of this year assuming Apple is able to line up the content.

If an Apple-branded television does hit the market, the company may be hard-pressed to find the right name. Apple TV is already taken. And if using ITV is a legal no-no, then Apple's creative minds will have to look elsewhere for inspiration.

Updated 11:30 p.m. PT with response from ITV.