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YouView to rebrand after trademark setback?

YouView, a UK broadband-based TV service backed by Lord Alan Sugar, has lost a trademark battle over the use of its name.

On 14 November, 2012, the High Court in London upheld an earlier decision that found YouView's name to be "confusingly similar" to YourView, a moniker trademarked with the Intellectual Property Office in 2009 by Cheltenham-based tech firm Total Limited.

The legal row may mean that the freeview TV service - a budget rival to the likes of Sky and Virgin Media - is forced to alter its brand name, a scenario YouView is understandably opposed to.

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

Meanwhile, Total Limited's managing director Stuart Balkie said his company is likely to seek an injunction against YouView's use of the name, as well as possibly pursue a damages claim.

"We are looking to take further action and may be looking to seek an injunction," he told the BBC.

"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," he added.

YouView is a venture backed by 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.

By way of contrast, Total Ltd's YourView operation is a billing service that allows the firm's business clients to monitor their staff's use of telephone calls and internet use in order to minimise their bills.

Independent commentators have put forth that YouView's vehement opposition to rebranding is understandable given the work that it has already put in to developing market awareness.

"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," commented consultant Toby Syfret of Enders Analysis.

The dispute is the latest blow for YouView, which had originally been set to launch in 2010 but faced a string of embarrassing delays before eventually debuting in July 2012.