One Direction are being sued by a US group who claim they stole their name.

The British and Irish boy band have been named in a claim by the Californian group, who say they have used the band name since 2009, and have filed a trademark application at the US Patent and Trademark Office.

As well as asking the UK based band - Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson - to change their name, the US act are seeking three times the profits earned by them and $1 million compensation.

The lawsuit claims the UK group's record company, Syco and its parent Sony Music, ''chose to ignore the plaintiff's rights and wilfully infringed them,'' after realising in early 2011 the two bands had the same name.

The Californian band, led by singer and pianist Sean O'Leary, are a rock outfit and have released two albums to date, with moderate success.

The UK group have taken the world by storm, and last month hit the US number one spot with debut album 'Up All Night', and are due to headline Madison Square Garden in December.

When the show was announced Niall said: ''To be headlining our own show in a venue that has played host to countless legendary acts that we have grown up listening to and adore is obviously a dream come true for us all.''

The UK One Direction are currently in Australia, where they were mobbed by fans upon their arrival.