JK Rowling plagiarism case set to go on trial

Updated: Oct 16, 2010, 11:25 AM IST

London: `Harry Potter` author JK Rowling is set for a prolonged legal battle after a court refused to dismiss a plagiarism lawsuit filed against her. Rowling who made more than USD 1 billion with her story of a young wizard, is facing allegations that she copied from an obscure children``s book writer, reported BBC online.

Justice David Kitchin ruled on Thursday that the claim by the estate of the late Adrian Jacobs had a chance of success but was still "improbable". The author who recently topped the list of the Most Influential Women in the UK, and her publishers Bloombury, moved to have the case thrown from court for lack of merit, but in a surprise move Kitchin refused to dismiss the lawsuit.

Kitchin ordered that Paul Allen, the estate``s trustee, pay money into court as security for the costs of the case if it went to trial. Jacobs wrote what the judge described as a "16-page novella" entitled Willy the Wizard and Allen claims ``Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire`` infringed the copyright.

Rowling and Bloomsbury say the books are not similar except at the most generalised level and those similarities had happened by chance. Jacobs`` book was first published in 1987, while Rowling``s was released in 2000 as the fourth novel of the Harry Potter series.

The 45-year-old writer called the claims against her unfounded and absurd, adding that she only came to hear about ``Willy the Wizard`` in 2004. Allen is claiming that there is substantial evidence to show that Rowling``s claims that she did not have access to the Jacobs book before she wrote Goblet are untrue, the judge said.

According to his estate, Jacobs died "penniless" in a London hospice in 1997, while Rowling has amassed a fortune with the franchise. The seven books in the `Harry Potter` franchise have taken Rowling from a unemployed single mother to one of the richest woman in the UK.