[08/10/05 - 12:00 AM]
Simon Cowell, ABC Television Network, Freemantlemedia, North America Sued in Federal Court for Stealing 'Million Dollar Idea(R)' Brand

[via press release from Roaring Entertainment]

Simon Cowell, ABC Television Network, Freemantlemedia, North America Sued in Federal Court For Stealing �Million Dollar Idea�� Brand

Federal Lawsuit Charges Defendants with Stealing Trademarked Brand, Copying Entire Premise for New Show, Marketing As Their Own

LOS ANGELES, CA, August 10, 2005 � A lawsuit filed in Federal Court here today states that Simon Cowell, and ABC Television Network (NYSE: DIS), conspired to steal the trademarked brand �Million Dollar Idea�, copy the entire premise of a show already airing in national syndication on over 125 television stations, and market that idea as their own.

The federal case is being brought by original �Million Dollar Idea� creators/hosts Jean Golden and Todd Walker. It is a direct response to ABC�s July 13, 2005 announcement of a new show of the same name, �created� by Cowell and �packaged� by CAA.

�From stem to stern, each and every detail of Simon Cowell and ABC�s mock �Million Dollar Idea� is a patent rip-off of Todd and Jean�s four-year labor of love,� said attorney Pierce O'Donnell. �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.� O�Donnell added that the damages from the lawsuit are estimated to be well into the tens of millions of dollars, in an exact amount to be determined at trial.

In 2001, Golden and Walker � childhood friends who eventually became business partners in their own public relations/marketing firm in Minneapolis, MN � teamed up and spent the next two years developing what became the �Million Dollar Idea�.� By 2002, they pitched and shot a pilot of �Million Dollar Idea� for KSTC TV (the sister station to ABC affiliate KSTP) in Minneapolis/St. Paul. By 2003, the show was airing on KSTC, in the nation�s 14th largest market (Minneapolis, MN).

Three seasons and over 30 episodes later, the show was recently nationally syndicated to over 125 television stations. In the process, it has drawn the attention of national media including The New York Times, Time Magazine, NBC�s The Today Show, Late Show with David Letterman, and Entrepreneur Magazine. Golden and Walker registered for both copyright and trademark for the name and premise of �Million Dollar Idea�.

In early 2004, Walker pitched Andrea Wong, executive vice president for Alternative Programming, Specials and Late Night at ABC Network. Wong was enthused by the idea and Walker/Golden followed up by sending Wong a pitch package which included selected media coverage of Million Dollar Idea, taped episodes of the show, a business plan and treatment for a national show. Also included was a confidentiality agreement. Golden and Walker also provided copies of their pitch materials to CAA, the same agency named in a recent ABC press release as having �packaged� the imitation �Million Dollar Idea�.

In mid-July 2005, ABC and Cowell, with the help of CAA, announced a new show, titled �Million Dollar Idea,� that is an exact replica of the already-airing and trademarked/copyrighted show of the same name. The ABC release quotes both Cowell and Wong, who makes decisions for the network on reality show content.

�At what point does our society say �enough is enough� to the big corporate giants who take advantage of the little guy? Business 101 classes teach that before you create or launch a new product or business, you must research the name and premise of the business to be sure that you are not infringing on trademark, patent or copyright of another individual,� stated attorney Ann Marie Mortimer.

In addition to the direct theft of the show title, each and every major concept relating to the show idea was also stolen.

The lawsuit calls for immediate injunctive relief and unspecified damages.

�It is incredibly ironic that our show, the premise of which is to promote, protect and reward small-town American ingenuity, was itself the victim of corporate theft and greed,� said Jean Golden, co-creator of Million Dollar Idea. �What has happened to us is every inventor/entrepreneur�s worst nightmare: having your idea stolen. The arrogance of Simon Cowell and ABC is beyond comprehension. Can you imagine stealing an idea and not even bothering to change the name of it?�

�We are outraged that Simon Cowell, and ABC Network think that they are above the law,� said Todd Walker. �We were taken aback to see our brand so brazenly stolen by corporate giants.�

Golden and Walker are represented by Pierce O'Donnell and Ann Marie Mortimer of O'Donnell Shaeffer Mortimer, LLP, in Los Angeles.

For more information about Million Dollar Idea, visit www.milliondollaridea.tv.

  [august 2005]  


[11/24/15 - 01:48 PM]
Spike TV Unwraps Big Ratings for "Lip Sync Battle" Holiday Special
Spike TV further spins the numbers for Thursday, November 19.

[11/24/15 - 01:26 PM]
"48 Hours: The Strange Case of Kurt Sonnenfeld" Is Saturday's #1 Program with Viewers
CBS spins the numbers for Saturday, November 21.

[11/24/15 - 01:01 PM]
NBC's Annual "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" Celebrates the Music of the Holidays Live on Wednesday, Dec. 2
Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Morales will host the live broadcast from New York City's Rockefeller Center.

[11/24/15 - 12:30 PM]
"Jimmy Kimmel Live: The Star Wars Special" to Air Wednesday, November 25 on ABC
Said encore replaces the previously announced repeat of "Nashville" that night.

[11/24/15 - 12:29 PM]
TV One's Hit Scripted Comedy "Born Again Virgin" Returns with All-New Episodes Tuesday, December 8 at 9 P.M. ET/PT
The scripted comedy is back with more dating adventures of three 30-something best friends and the challenges they face while attempting to navigate a new romantic landscape and trying to avoid the pitfalls of empty relationships.

[11/24/15 - 11:30 AM]
Music Icon and Animal Activist Emmylou Harris to Be Honored on "The All-Star Dog Rescue Celebration" Thanksgiving Night, Thursday, November 26, On FOX
Eugene Bostick and Michael Schoepf also will be honored as ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things to better the lives of rescue animals.

[11/24/15 - 11:18 AM]
Showtime(R) Documentary Series "Dark Net" to Premiere Thursday, January 21st at 11 PM ET/PT
Each half-hour episode will shed light on themes such as bio-hacking, cyber-kidnapping, digital warfare, online cults, pornography addiction, the webcam sex trade and more.

[11/24/15 - 11:04 AM]
ABC Family Announces Winter Premiere Dates
New scripted drama "Recovery Road" and fan favorite "The Fosters" will now premiere on Monday, January 25.

[11/24/15 - 11:01 AM]
Hallmark Channel Is the Most-Watched Network for the 3rd Consecutive Weekend Among Households, W25-54 and Total Viewers
The Hallmark Channel spins the numbers for the week of November 16-22.

[11/24/15 - 10:38 AM]
With the Cast of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," "Kimmel" Draws Its 4th-Biggest-Ever Monday Audience
ABC spins the late-night numbers for Monday, November 23.

[11/24/15 - 10:16 AM]
New Year, New You! TLC Amps Up Friday Nights with the Return of Fan-Favorite TLC Talent
Fan-favorite talent including Stacy London, Clinton Kelly, Devyn Simone, Monte Durham and Lori Allen come together to make Friday nights bigger and better than ever.

[11/24/15 - 10:00 AM]
Big Bird, Elmo and Cookie Monster Are Back as "Sesame Street" Debuts Its 46th Season Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016 on HBO
The award-winning show will include 30-minute episodes, new preschool-relevant themes, new show opening and closing songs, an updated set, a new segment called "Smart Cookies" and a new cast member, Nina.

[11/24/15 - 09:01 AM]
LL Cool J to Host the 17th Annual "A Home for the Holidays," An Entertainment Special Celebrating Families, To Be Broadcast Friday, Dec. 18 on the CBS Television Network
Special performances are dedicated to these children and their new adoptive families, whose stories are featured in pre-taped segments to help raise awareness of this important social issue.

[11/24/15 - 08:51 AM]
Monday's Broadcast Ratings: NBC Holds Off Surging ABC in Demo Race
The Peacock leads the night among adults 18-49 while the Alphabet is the most-watched network.

[11/24/15 - 08:37 AM]
NBC Sweeps 6 of 6 Monday Half-Hours Among the Big 4 in 18-49
NBC spins the numbers for Monday, November 23.