Court Throws Out 'American Idol' Claim

By | March 22, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Houston – An appeals court has upheld dismissal of a man’s claim that a television network stole his idea for the hit show “American Idol.”

A federal judge in 2003 dismissed Harry Keane Jr.’s claim without hearing it and ordered him to pay Fox Television Stations Inc.’s legal fees of nearly $130,000.

Keane’s attorneys had argued before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that Keane deserved a trial, but the court disagreed Thursday.

Keane, of Irving, said he came up with the show in 1994, and that he sent material to Fox outlining his concept in 1998. “American Idol” first aired in 2002.

“Because Keane sent out unsolicited letters, which detailed the specifics of his idea, to several different production companies and advertised his idea on the Internet, the district court correctly found that he cannot demonstrate that he had a trade secret,” the appeals court wrote.

Denman Heard, Keane’s lawyer, said through a spokesman that he was reviewing the decision and deciding what to do next.

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