Everette Silas and Sherri Littleton launched legal action against the actors and bosses at U.S. network HBO in December (15), claiming they originated the idea of a show based around the sports industry, called Off Season, in 2007.

The plaintiffs alleged they had been working with Wahlberg, Johnson and their manager to develop the project, but the deal fell apart in 2009, after Silas and Littleton insisted their names featured in the credits.

They noted a number of striking similarities between the plot of Off Season and Ballers, both of which are set in Miami, Florida and revolve around African-American football players and their lives off the field, and demanded compensation.

However, the stars hit back in April (16), insisting the projects are "radically" different as they sought to have the case dismissed, and during a hearing in Los Angeles on Monday (25Jul16), the judge concurred.

"The themes in the two concepts are widely different," Judge George Wu ruled, insisting the similarities are too general to amount to copyright infringement, reports Deadline.com.

The verdict emerges days after the second season of Ballers debuted in the U.S.

Wahlberg serves as an executive producer on the series, which features Johnson as a retired American football star-turned-mentor, who helps young players manage their finances and avoid hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons.