SMG has launched a legal bid to stop Carlton and Granada 'hijacking' the ITV name for their merged company.

SMG has launched a legal bid to stop Carlton and Granada "hijacking" the ITV name for their merged company.

The Glasgow-based company, which owns Scottish TV and Grampian TV, asked a judge to grant an injunction against the pair using ITV for their merged entity claiming that the "ITV brand is the collective property of all the [15] ITV franchises".

The injunction was refused but the judge ruled that Carlton and Granada would have to pay compensation for using the ITV name if it was proved that they did not have sole rights to the brand.

The issue will be the subject of discussions between ITV and the minority broadcaster in the coming weeks although no formal meetings have been confirmed. ITV plc will be officially launched on 2 February.

An SMG source told Broadcast: "It is possible that it could end up back in court."

A Granada spokeswoman said, that under its trademark agreement with ITV, it was allowed to use the brand.

Carlton and Granada were forced to compensate minority shareholders two years ago after they decided to rebrand OnDigital as ITV Digital.