A German sitcom is being investigated by the BBC over similarities to the hit comedy The Office.
Ricky Gervais was the co-creator and star of The Office
The German show Stromberg has proved a hit since making its debut on the ProSieben channel two weeks ago.
But the BBC has been alerted to alleged parallels with The Office, including a central character similar to Ricky Gervais' David Brent.
Similarities between other characters in the Bafta-winning series can also be found, according to reports.
A BBC Worldwide spokeswoman confirmed Stromberg had been brought to the corporation's attention and was investigating possible copyright violations.
"We take our formats and programmes very seriously so we are looking in to it," she said.
ProSieben has reportedly denied copying the format of The Office but is aware the BBC is looking into copyright issues. It also has reportedly said that Stromberg was based on German humour and not British tastes.
In The Office, David Brent was an annoying middle manager of a paper supply company, who wants to be friends with his colleagues even though they laugh at him behind his back.
Stromberg's central character is insurance boss Bernd Stromberg, who, like Brent, attempts to ingratiate himself with his colleagues.
There are said to be characters similar to The Office's Gareth, Dawn and Tim in the German show.
The Office, which ran for two seasons and a Christmas special, won its co-creator Gervais two Golden Globes - a first for any British comedy.