Harry Potter plagiarism case may come to trial

Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:59pm EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - J.K. Rowling may be forced to defend herself in court against charges that she copied the work of another children's author when writing "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," the fourth of seven Potter novels.

Judge David Kitchin who is overseeing the plagiarism case at London's High Court said in a ruling on Thursday that the claims made by Paul Allen, trustee of the estate of the late writer Adrian Jacobs, were "improbable."

But he also turned down an application by lawyers for Rowling and her British publisher Bloomsbury for an immediate judgment dismissing the case outright.

"Even at this early stage, the judge has concluded that the claim may succeed at a full trial," said Allen's lawyer Nick Kounoupias.

"If the claim does proceed then J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury will be required to explain how the similarities between the two works came about," he added.

The judge is expected to order Allen to pay a sum of money to the court as a security against the costs of the case should it eventually go to trial. That "conditional order" will be made at a later hearing, possibly before the end of the year.

Legal experts say the costs would be "substantial."

WILLY THE WIZARD   Continued...

<p>Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling reads at the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington April 5, 2010. REUTERS/Larry Downing</p>