Designers: Heidi Klum Stole Our Idea

Designers: Heidi Klum Stole Our Idea
Barbara Nitke/Bravo

12/07/2005 AT 08:00 AM EST

Heidi Klum, along with the Walt Disney Co., NBC Universal and others, are being sued by two New York fashion designers who claim they were robbed of their idea to develop the show that ultimately became the Emmy-nominated Project Runway.

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.

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Project Runway's first season aired on the NBC-Universal's Bravo channel from December 2004 to February 2005. The second season premieres on Bravo on Wednesday.

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.
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