In a copyright lawsuit filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York on Tuesday, designers Cynthia Rodriguez and Elizabeth Marie Anne Zwiebach claim that in July 2003 they pitched Klum's agents on a 40-page outline for a reality show they titled American Runway, Reuters reports.
The duo said they had previously registered and copyrighted the work with the Writer's Guild of America in March 2003 and that Project Runway is "strikingly similar" to their idea – in which "designers are pitted against one another for the opportunity to earn fame, money and notoriety as winners," their legal papers state.
Defendants include German supermodel Klum, Disney, Disney's Miramax Film Corp. unit, Miramax founders Harvey and Robert Weinstein, their new venture Weinstein Co. and NBC Universal.
There has been no comment from any of the defendants. On Sept. 12, Klum, 32, and her husband, British pop star Seal, welcomed a baby son.
Last month, a man filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles claiming that in February 2003 he pitched a similar concept called America's Fashion Designer Search to producers of Project Greenlight, a Miramax-developed program that also aired on Bravo.