Hayden Christensen claims USA stole his idea for 'Royal Pains'

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Hayden Christensen claims USA stole his idea for 'Royal Pains'

Thu Jul 08, 2010 @ 01:25PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

0cb65dd3ba80176d45f334c7efc1a22d2Not even Darth Vader has the power to stop alleged idea theft in Hollywood.

Hayden Christensen, Anakin Skywalker in the "Star Wars" prequels, is suing USA Network over "Royal Pains," saying the cable network ripped off his idea for a show about a concierge doctor in Malibu who makes house calls to the rich and famous.

The actor, along with his brother Tove and Forest Park Pictures, filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in New York District Court. 

The brothers allegedly brought the idea for a concierge doctor show titled "Housecall" to USA and met with Alex Pepiol, who at the time was manager of original scripted series programming at the network. They say they also sent him materials including a treatment, character biographies and show ideas. 

"It was understood that Plaintiffs were pitching those ideas with the object of persuading USA Network to purchase those ideas for commercial development, and/or to employ Plaintiffs in the production of those ideas," reads the complaint, adding the brothers were never told of a similar series in the works.

"Royal Pains" supposedly misappropriated characters, concept and story lines from the "Housecall" treatment.

The plaintiffs, represented by David Marek at Liddle & Robinson, aren't suing for copyright infringement, though.

Instead, they're following others who have found success in making idea theft claims by asserting breach of implied contract, unfair competition and unjust enrichment. Christensen is demanding profits received from the "Royal Pains" concept and damages "believed to be in the millions of dollars," according to the complaint.

USA declined to comment on the suit.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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