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Cowell, ABC Sued over 'Million Dollar Idea'

(Posted August 11, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

LOS ANGELES ( ABC announced last month that it had ordered nine episodes of "Million Dollar Idea," a show that would seek to find innovative new products or business ideas and reward their creators.

One problem: The producers of another show, also called "Million Dollar Idea," say the ABC project is a "patent ripoff" of their program.

Jean Golden and Todd Walker, creators of the first "Million Dollar Idea," have filed a federal lawsuit against ABC, producer FremantleMedia and Simon Cowell, the "American Idol" judge and an executive producer of the ABC show. They're seeking an injunction against the show and unspecified damages.

"[E]ach and every detail of Simon Cowell and ABC's mock 'Million Dollar Idea' is a patent ripoff of Todd and Jean's four-year labor of love," says Pierce O'Donnell, an attorney for Golden and Walker. "Cowell and ABC conspired to destroy the very essence that the show 'Million Dollar Idea' is here to promote -- the ability of the little guy with a big dream to take an idea and bring it to fruition."

Golden and Walker's "Million Dollar Idea" first aired on KSTC-TV, an independent station in Minneapolis, in 2003, and was later syndicated to other stations nationwide. The show invites inventors to the Mall of America, where they pitch their products to a live audience and panel of judges. Winners get a chance to see their invention on store shelves, along with help seeking patents and marketing advice.

Their suit claims that in 2004, they pitched a network show to Andrea Wong, head of alternative programming at ABC, and CAA, the agency that packaged the Cowell/Fremantle project. In announcing its "Million Dollar Idea" in July, ABC said Cowell had conceived the show with British entrepreneur Peter Jones, who was a judge on a similar show called "Dragons' Den" that aired on the BBC.

As for ABC's take on the suit? "We have not even been served with the complaint in this matter," the network says in a statement, "and so have no comment."

Source: Zap2it

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