Publishers of the popular children’s fantasy series Harry Potter are being sued following allegations its plot and characters were created by another author.
The estate of penniless English children’s writer Adrian Jacobs has lodged proceedings in the High Court of England against Bloomsbury Publishing.
The estate, willed to Paul Allen, alleges that in writing the book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling copied parts of the late author’s work.
In the billion dollar law suit, the estate is seeking to prevent further copies of the book being sold and either damages or a share in profits made by Bloomsbury Publishing.
Harry Potter author JK Rowling has never heard of a writer who claimed she plagiarised one of his books, her publishers say, branding the allegations “unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue”.
Rowling has never heard of Jacobs, or “seen, read or heard of his book” until the claim was first made in 2004 — seven years after the first Harry Potter book was published, a spokeswoman for Bloomsbury said.
“Bloomsbury would like to state that this claim is without merit and will be defended vigorously.
The allegations of plagiarism made by the estate of Adrian Jacobs are unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue,” the spokeswoman said.
“This claim was first made in 2004 by solicitors in London acting on behalf of Adrian Jacobs’s son who was the representative of his father’s estate and who lives in the United States. The claim was unable to identify any text in the Harry Potter books which was said to copy Willy the Wizard.”
She added that Willy the Wizard was a “very insubstantial booklet” of only 36 pages, which had a “very limited distribution.”
“The central character of Willy the Wizard is not a young wizard and the book does not revolve around a wizard school.”
Jacobs’s lawyers also claim that he had approached Christopher Little to be his literary agent, and Little later went on to represent Rowling.
Jacobs died in a London hospice in 1997.
Rowling, 43, has earned $US820 million dollars from the Harry Potter books and films, according to the 2009 Sunday Times Rich List.