Just as their success was beginning to reach unprecedented levels for a UK boy-band, One Direction may be forced to change their name. A little known Californian band - also named One Direction - have slapped them with a multi-million dollar lawsuit which could force Simon Cowell's Syco Entertainment and Sony Music to back down and rename their bestselling pop group, reports the UK's Independent newspaper.
The British pop-stars were signed by Cowell following their third-place finish on the X Factor show in 2010. However, lawyers for the U.S. group One Direction say they formed in 2009 and that Syco and Sony Music "chose to ignore the plaintiff's rights and wilfully infringed them" after becoming aware that the name was already in use. The court documents claim that the Americans are entitled to three times the profits made by the British group, as well as damages worth up to $1 million. The UK One Direction became the first British band to top the Billboard Albums Chart with a debut release, and the boys have been mobbed during appearances in the U.S. and Australia. During a television appearance at the Rockefeller Plaza in New York, 10,000 fans turned in an attempt to catch a glimpse of the group. Their U.S. counterparts are not quite as successful - they play in local bars in California and originally formed around a shared love for Blink 182. Frontman Sean O'Leary said on his band's website, "I plan on making music for the rest of my life no matter what! I do my best, I work hard, treat people the way I would like to be treated and believe if I really want this dream, I can do it! :). When all you see is up. there is only One Direction to get there!!!". Their lawyer Peter Ross told the Hollywood Reporter that the U.S. morning show Today mistakenly placed the band's song to introduce the UK boy-band last month.