Pop star Ariana Grande has been dragged into a copyright infringement lawsuit over her 2013 hit The Way.

The singer/actress and executives at Sony/Atv, UMG Recordings and others have been named in the legal action, brought by bosses at U.K. firm Minder Music, who own the rights to songs written and recorded by The Jimmy Castor Bunch.

They claim the phrase Grande repeats in the hit, "What we gotta do right here is go back, back into time", is lifted from the American disco group's 1972 tune Troglodyte, which features the spoken phrase, "What we’re gonna do right here is go back, way back, back into time."

The lawsuit has been filed in Nashville federal court in Tennessee, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Minder Music executives are seeking a declaration of wilful infringement, a permanent injunction, statutory damages and attorneys' fees.