One Direction US 'not scared' of Simon Cowell

American band One Direction have said they won't be intimidated by Simon Cowell as they sue him over their name.

The group are seeking more than $1 million (£630,000) in damages and a share of the UK boy band's profits over claims of trademark infringement.

Singer Sean O'Leary also said that the band had received death threats and hate mail over the row.

Simon Cowell's Syco label told Newsbeat that it had tried to reach an "amicable decision" over the matter.

Speaking to Newsbeat in their first UK broadcast interview, 18-year-old Sean and bassist Scott Nagereda said they wouldn't back down.

"He [Simon Cowell] is obviously a very smart man... but we are not intimidated."

"The law isn't a popularity contest. Our name has been infringed," said Sean.

The five-piece California band started in 2009 and went through a change in line up, but eventually everything clicked and the current band was formed.

"When I was small and tried to start things up," said Sean. "My dad would always advise me you're at the bottom so there's only one direction to go.

"And that was the attitude I needed for the band."

'So awkward'

Band-mate Scott said he first heard of the UK One Direction last year: "It was just so awkward that someone with our name was on a game show [The X Factor].

"That name means much more to us. It's everything."

Court papers filed on 9 April at California Central District Court, claim the US band are suffering "substantial confusion and substantial damage" because of the UK group, who recently sold out their debut US tour.

"We are obviously not as successful as the UK band," said Sean, speaking via Skype.

"We're nothing like them either, we're more rock and play instruments. We put everything into our band. Our music is our lives."

The boys said that - despite what some people may think - the publicity over the row had not been a good thing.

"We have had so much hate mail.

"Ninety-nine per cent of it is from British fans, which has been awful and upsetting," said Sean.

"They include death threats. We're not trying to upset anyone. We just want to keep what's rightfully ours."