RDF, a British television production company, has accused Fox Broadcasting Company of copyright infringement in connection with its popular reality television programme, ?Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy.?

In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday, RDF claims that the show, developed by Fox and another company, Rocket Science Laboratories, was an unlawful reproduction of its own reality programme, ?Wife Swap?, which had previously aired in the UK and then on ABC in the US.

?In our view, this is the most clear-cut case of copyright theft in the history of the reality genre,? said RDF director of programs Stephen Lambert, the creator and executive producer of ?Wife Swap.?

?It has been widely reported that Fox has long pursued a strategy of ripping off other people's intellectual property. RDF intends to take full advantage of the law to put a stop to it,? Mr Lambert added.

A Fox spokesperson said on Wednesday night he had not seen the lawsuit and declined to comment.

According to the complaint, Peter Chernin, vice president of News Corp., Fox's parent company, told a group of Fox executives about ?Wife Swap? after a trip to London in 2003, and that they subsequently developed ?Trading Spouses? with a similar format in order to confuse viewers.

The lawsuit marks the second time this year that Fox has been accused of stealing reality programmes from rival networks. In July, NBC accused Fox of theft after it introduced ?The Next Great Champ?, a reality boxing programme similar to NBC's ?The Contender?.

Fox denied the charge.

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