'Ted' creator accused of copying foul-mouthed bear

Writer, director and cast member Seth MacFarlane poses at the premiere of "Ted" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California in this file photo taken on June 21, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Writer, director and cast member Seth MacFarlane poses at the premiere of "Ted" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California in this file photo taken on June 21, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - A production company is suing US comic Seth MacFarlane for breach of copyright, claiming he based his foul-mouthed character in the hit movie Ted on an abusive teddy bear created years before.

Bengal Mangle Productions says MacFarlane's Ted, who drinks, takes drugs and likes prostitutes, is based on the title character in Charlie The Abusive Teddy Bear, an online show dating from 2009.

"Charlie is a teddy bear who lives in a human, adult world with all human friends. Charlie has a penchant for drinking, smoking, prostitutes, and is a generally vulgar yet humorous character," it said in a lawsuit.

The production company said Ted was "strikingly similar" to Charlie, and that MacFarlane had copied Charlie without its authorisation.

Ted, starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis as well as the voice of MacFarlane in the title role, was the 12th highest grossing film of 2012, according to the lawsuit.

Overall, the movie is also the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time, earning nearly US$220 million (S$273 million) in the US and US$550 million worldwide.

The 16-page lawsuit includes a long list of similar expletive-laced lines from Charlie and Ted.

Among the less foul-mouthed are Charlie's "I have a life mission and it is to drink," juxtaposed with Ted's "I drink on Tuesday night to celebrate the fact that it ain't Monday night."

The production company - whose lawsuit also includes side-by-side photos of the two bears, with beers in hand - is seeking unspecified damages as well as legal fees.

MacFarlane's "infringing conduct is continuing and ongoing," it said.

"Plaintiff has suffered, and will continue to suffer, irreparable injury for which there is no adequate remedy at law, unless Defendants are enjoined by the Court."

Representatives for MacFarlane did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A sequel, Ted 2, is due for release in June 2015.