Simon Cowell: Luis Martinez/AP
Gary Susman
September 13, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Has Simon Cowell uttered his last barb on American Idol? Maybe, depending on the fallout of a lawsuit filed against Cowell by Idol creator Simon Fuller. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Fuller’s production company, 19 TV, filed suit against Cowell and his Fremantle Media company over the weekend, coinciding with the debut of Fremantle’s new U.K. talent show, The X Factor. Fuller’s suit claims copyright infringement and breach of contract, arguing that X Factor is too similar to Pop Idol (the U.K. original that spawned American Idol and other Idol shows around the world).

X Factor features Cowell and Sharon Osbourne among a panel of judges of a talent competition. Unlike the Idol shows, X Factor has its judges side openly with finalists and serve as their mentors. On Friday, Fremantle issued a statement insisting that the shows were substantially different, and that it would ”vigorously” defend its position in court. Simon Cowell on the witness stand: Now there’s a reality show we’d like to see.

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