There are no two ways about One Direction's rapid rise to fame. Or are there?
An American band claiming to be the original One Direction has sued Sony Music and Simon Cowell's record label, Syco Entertainment, for $1 million, charging that the Cowell-connected group is confusing its fans and ruining the credibility the group built on these shores since getting together a couple years ago.
Apparently the idea that more than 110,000 people may have watched the video for its song "2012" by mistake while searching for one of the British and Irish boyband's hits hasn't sat well with the California-based quintet, which is demanding that the lads change their name.
The U.S.-based One Direction alleges that the U.K.'s One Direction found out that they shared the name when they attempted to file with the U.S. Trademark Office, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in California.
"We were negotiating for about a month before we filed the complaint," the plaintiffs' lawyer, Peter Ross, tells E! News. "In our view, negotiations had stalled and weren't going anywhere."
A spokesman for the U.K.-based One Direction confirmed to E! that there is an ongoing disagreement.
"There is a dispute with a local group in California about the ownership of the One Direction name in the U.S.," the rep said in a statement. "One Direction's management tried to resolve the situation amicably when the matter first came to light, but the Californian group has now filed a law suit claiming they own the name. One Direction's lawyers now have no choice but to defend the lawsuit and the band's right to use their name."
The suing group claims that, aside from all the confusion, the U.K.-based One Direction will damage the goodwill that the Americans have built with its domestic audience.
The members of U.S.' One Direction are lead singer Sean O'Leary, guitarist Isaiah Chavez-Pickett, bassist Scott Nagareda and drummer Adam Davis. Their album, The Light, came out in February 2011 and there are new tunes that just dropped last month on their website.
According to Ross, Today mistakenly introduced the U.K. band with the U.S. band's song "2012" when they performed on the morning show last month.