Bosses at the Toho Company filed suit against Voltage Pictures chiefs in California on Tuesday (19May15), a week after plans for director Nacho Vigalondo's next film were announced at the Cannes Film Festival in France.

Colossal is due to feature Hathaway as a woman who discovers she has a psychic connection with a giant lizard which has been wreaking havoc in Tokyo.

It has jokingly been touted as "Godzilla meets Lost in Translation", but the description has angered Toho executives, who allege Hollywood producers are "brazenly producing, advertising, and selling an unauthorised Godzilla film of their own".

Lawyers for Toho claim Voltage producers used images of the Godzilla featured in the firm's previous movies, including their recent Hollywood reboot, directed by Gareth Edwards, in emails to potential investors to secure financing, while they also allegedly included posters for the 2014 blockbuster in promotional packets distributed at Cannes. The sales booklets reportedly included the tagline, "Tokyo is under attack by Godzilla".

Toho bosses are urging lawmakers to ban Voltage executives from producing Colossal, which has yet to go into production, and they are seeking unspecified damages for copyright and trademark infringements, trademark dilution, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.

Director Vigalondo has also been named as a defendant in the legal papers, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Voltage bosses have yet to comment on the lawsuit.