UPDATE: Apple has been in touch to tell us that it denies they told the Mirror the name “Wouldn’t be too similar”, stating that as usual it does not comment on speculation and rumour.

UPDATE 2: We’ve added a statement from ITV at the end of the post.

When rumours surfaced earlier this week that Apple was planning to rename its Apple TV set-top box the iTV, the question asked in the UK was “What about our 55 year-old TV network of the same name”?

Now The Mirror reports that ITV is consulting its lawyers this week. The newspaper claims to have got the inside track on thoughts at ITV, describing the broadcaster’s mood as “Furious”. It quotes an insider at the station as saying “You only have to look at recent problems with the iPhone 4 to see not everything Apple produces is gold dust. We all take our ITV brand very seriously and we’ll do everything in our power to protect it.”

While it sounds to us like there’s been some serious tabloid spin put on that quote (see our more sober response from the broadcaster below), the paper does report that an Apple spokesperson denied that the name of the device will be “too similar”. (As we note above, Apple tells us it never made that claim and that it does not comment on rumour and speculation).

The fact is, of course, that this is still a rumour. ITV is unlikely to make any legal move to protect its trademark until an official announcement s made by Apple. Given that ITV is a long-established media player and that the UK market is important to Apple, we can’t see this rename being likely.

UDPATE: An ITV spokesperson tells us:

“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.”

They certainly sound like fighting words to us.