Red Bull has put on hold a project to establish a new high-altitude skydiving record after being hit by a lawsuit alleging that the company stole the idea from a potential business partner.

In a statement released on Monday, Red Bull said it had “decided to stop the Red Bull Stratos program with immediate effect.”

At issue is a lawsuit filed by an American entrepreneur who claims that he approached the company with an identical idea several years prior.

In papers filed in California Superior Court, Daniel Hogan alleges that in 2004, he pitched the idea of a similar high-altitude parachuting stunt to Red Bull, and that after providing the company with detailed technical and logistical information, he was turned down.

“This was my idea, from start to finish,” Hogan told the Wall Street Journal.

In yesterday’s statement, Red Bull said that it had “acted appropriately in its prior dealings with Mr. Hogan, and will demonstrate this as the case progresses.”

A spokesperson from Red Bull declined to comment further on the lawsuit.

Stratos is a project by Red Bull and Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner that aims to break a fifty-year-old record for highest skydive ever completed. The planned jump, which had been tentatively scheduled for late 2010, would have seen Baumgartner ride in a specially-built balloon to an altitude of 120,000 feet, high enough to see the curvature of the Earth.

Wearing a spacesuit, he’d then jump out and fall several minutes back to earth, likely breaking the sound barrier in the process.

The company says that Baumgartner will continue to be involved with the project once it resumes.

Feature Photo: Red Bull Stratos

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