YouView faces legal challenge to the use of its brand

Lord Alan Sugar
Image caption Lord Sugar is the chairman of the YouView television service

UK internet TV provider YouView has become embroiled in a trademark dispute with a Cheltenham-based tech firm.

The High Court in London has upheld an earlier ruling that the TV platform's name was "confusingly similar" to YourView, a name filed by Total Ltd with the UK's Intellectual Property Office in June 2009.

YouView's name was filed with the IPO just over nine months later, prompting a legal challenge.

The row looks set to return to court.

Despite the latest ruling, the TV service - which is headed up by Lord Sugar - has said it intends to keep its brand.

"YouView has no intention of changing its name," said the firm in a statement.

"This matter is complex and subject to a number of ongoing legal actions and will be settled in the courts."

But Total Ltd's managing director Stuart Balkie said he was now considering the best way to force his opponent's hand.

"We are looking to take further action and may be looking to seek an injunction," he told the BBC. "We're currently considering our options."

A statement from the company added that it might also seek damages.

Image caption YouView provides a catch-up TV alternative to Virgin Media and Sky's rival services

"We see that the success of the YouView business must to a large degree rely on brand recognition, also accounting for the fact that there are other businesses out there in the marketplace providing similar services," it said.

"We are aware that they have informed the public that they have a near £50m marketing budget. If the Court provides us with the relief we will be seeking then one way that this may impact on YouView may well be that they may have no other option than to re-brand."

The High Court ruling was issued last Friday, but only emerged after Total Ltd published a press release.

Brand awareness

YouView is a joint venture involving the BBC, ITV, BT, Channel 4, Channel 5, TalkTalk and media services firm Arqiva.

It offers viewers access to 70 live Freeview channels and a seven-day catch-up service.

The project had originally been set to launch in 2010 but was delayed until July this year.

By contrast, YourView is the name of an online service offered by Total Ltd.

Image caption YourView says it may seek damages for harm done to its brand

It allows the firm's business clients to monitor their staff's use of telephone calls and internet use in order to work out what would be the best tariffs and bolt-ons to sign up to as part of efforts to minimise their bills.

One observer said it was unsurprising YouView was resisting a change to its name.

"It would be a serious setback in the sense that they have now developed a brand presence among the public and within the business itself," said Toby Syfret, a TV expert at consultants Enders Analysis.

"Having built awareness of YouView there would now be extra publicity costs for the partners involved if they had to fund the exercise of introducing another name."

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