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US company preemptively warns Apple against iTV name

updated 03:10 pm EST, Tue March 6, 2012

Cites patents, rumors as reasons for action

A US company, iTV Entertainment, is preemptively pursuing Apple over the iTV name, according to a press release. "iTV Entertainment, LLC announced today that its counsel, Bart S. Fisher, had sent a letter to Apple, Inc. board director, Al Gore, suggesting that a meeting be held 'to see if an amicable and fair transaction arrangement' could be made between the parties with regard to Apple's use of the 'iTV' mark displayed throughout their U.S. Patent No. 2011/0154394 A1 for a product that is rumored to be in development by and being planned for a possible launch in 2012," the company writes. "Apple describes its device as being 'an audio and video entertainment center'."

The patent application in question associates an "iTV" logo with an Apple TV-style product. It is actually a continuation of a patent dating back to September 2006, on the same day Apple previewed a product known as iTV before switching the name to Apple TV. iTV Entertainment's CEO, Patrick Hughes, remarks that his company has had the "iTV Entertainment" trademark since 2001, and that it approached Apple in August 2010 in case the latter was considering relaunching the Apple TV under its original name. Apple was allegedly uninterested in the trademark at the time.

Hughes says that aside from Gore, other people from Apple notified include CEO Tim Cook, fellow board member Andrea Jung, and general counsel Bruce Sewell. An Apple iTV would "cause a great amount of confusion with iTV Entertainment customers," Hughes alleges. He threatens that if Apple does bring out an iTV, his company will file a complaint with the US International Trade Commission.

Apple is widely believed to be working on a full-scale TV set for release sometime in 2012 or 2013. What Apple might call the TV is unclear, since it may not want to repeat the term "Apple TV," and the iTV name is actually used by multiple businesses. Aside from iTV Entertainment, UK broadcaster ITV would likely object to having its identity confused.

by MacNN Staff



  1. prl99

    Joined: Dec 1969


    same trademark

    So how did the American iTV get away with the same trademark as the British ITV? Has ITV been in contact with iTV over abuse of its name?

  1. kerryb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    oh did I miss the new iTV???

    I think they already got their answer in 2010, looks like someone is looking to get paid big.

  1. global.philosopher

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple should respect other trademarks...

    just like Proview (iPad) and Amazon (Appstore) and the rest of the industry (Multitouch) should respect theirs!

    It is interesting that the two existing iTV Entertainment and UK broadcaster ITV aren't going head to head though. Sounds like their is a bit of confusion already inthe marketplace.

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I think iTV Entertainment was

    right to contact Apple regarding the possible (anything at this point) conflict. I do think they have wasted their money in contacting the various executives other than contacting Apple legal offices.

    Clearly they want a pay day. I'm pretty sure Apple will avoid this whole mess by choosing another product name entirely. No repeat of the Proview debacle please.

  1. burger

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple should start naming their products with symbols, just to make anyone trying to cash in on a trademark struggle to guess at the next name.

    Now announcing the Apple ¥ƒ∂∂

  1. brainiac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: names

    I prefer the i#&$!

  1. elroth

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: names

    I wonder if "SteveTV" is taken.

  1. coffeetime

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple should win the case....

    after all, its the other companies trying to cash-in using the word "i" by piggy-bagging Apple's successful product iMac. It's Apple who started the iThing from the beginning.

  1. chas_m



    Ambulance chasing

    Not even waiting until the unannounced and never-confirmed by Apple product even actually exists and is shown to be violating someone's trademark ...

    I don't like to speak ill of lawyers because I think they often get unfairly tarred, and I happen to really like all the lawyers I know ... but this is a textbook case of ambulance chasing.

  1. Jubeikiwagami

    Joined: Dec 1969


    They get nothing

    Apple TV name is going to stay.

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