Writer-director Seth MacFarlane and his company Fuzzy Door Productions are being sued by a California production company over the idea for the foul-mouthed teddy bear in Ted.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bengal Mangle Productions filed a lawsuit on Tuesday (July 15) in the US District Court in Los Angeles.

The lawsuit claims that Ted's character is an unlawful copy of the company's own animated bear, Charlie. 

Bengal Mangle Productions created a screenplay called Acting School Academy in 2008 that featured a womanising teddy bear named Charlie.

The suit says the Charlie character, like Ted, 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."

Acting School Academy became a web series that was shown on various platforms including YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo. 

In June 2012, the film Ted, which was directed, co-written and produced by MacFarlane, was released. 

The suit alleges that Charlie and Ted have similar physical and character attributes.

There has been no comment from MacFarlane on the lawsuit.