August 10, 2005

Pair sues ABC over ‘Million Dollar Idea’ show

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The makers of a television show
called "Million Dollar Idea" have sued ABC and several others,
including "American Idol" star Simon Cowell, seeking to block
broadcasts of a new show that they claim copies their own.

The suit says ABC, Cowell and FremantleMedia North America
Inc are developing a program called "The Million Dollar Idea,"
that is nearly identical to "Million Dollar Idea" in which
entrepreneurs compete for $1 million to make and market an
original product.

"While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery,
imitation in the form of outright copying is not flattery at
all -- it is intellectual property theft," the suit said.

The action was filed in federal court in Los Angeles by
Roaring Entertainment Llc, Jean Golden and Todd Walker and
seeks unspecified monetary damages along with barring the ABC
show from the air.

An ABC spokesman was not immediately available to comment,
and a FremantleMedia spokeswoman declined to comment saying she
had not yet reviewed the lawsuit.

Cowell, U.K. businessman Peter Jones and FremantleMedia,
which makes "American Idol" in the United States for the Fox TV
network, approached ABC about "The Million Dollar Idea."

Golden and Walker have produced their "Million Dollar Idea"
show for three seasons from the Mall of America in Bloomington,
Minnesota, and their show is now broadcast on over 125 TV
stations across the United States.

Along with the title, the lawsuit claims "strong
similarities" between the Golden and Walker show and the one
outlined by ABC and FremantleMedia in July.

For instance, contestants in the Golden and Walker show
initially compete for $50,000 in seed money to develop their
idea. Contestants on the ABC show would do the same.

Contestants on both shows also pitch their products to a
celebrity/inventor panel in front of a live audience.