J.K. Rowling calls Potter plagiarism case "absurd"

LONDON (Reuters) - Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling called on Thursday for a plagiarism case against her to be dismissed, describing it as “unfounded” and “absurd”.

Scottish author J.K. Rowling is pictured during a tea party to launch her new book 'The Tales of Beedle the Bard' at Parliament Hall in Edinburgh December 4, 2008. REUTERS/David Cheskin/Pool

In June, the estate of Adrian Jacobs issued proceedings at London’s High Court against Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, claiming that Rowling copied substantial parts of “The Adventures of Willy the Wizard -- No 1 Livid Land” written by Jacobs in 1987.

It said the plot of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” copied elements of the plot of Willy the Wizard, including a wizard contest, and that the Potter series borrowed the idea of wizards traveling on trains.

Rowling’s name has been added to the case as a defendant, prompting her personal response.

“I am saddened that yet another claim has been made that I have taken material from another source to write Harry,” Rowling, 44, said in a statement.

“The fact is I had never heard of the author or the book before the first accusation by those connected to the author’s estate in 2004; I have certainly never read the book.

“The claims that are made are not only unfounded but absurd and I am disappointed that I, and my UK publisher Bloomsbury, are put in a position to have to defend ourselves.

“We will be applying to the court immediately for a ruling that the claim is without merit and should therefore be dismissed without delay.”

The seven boy wizard books, of which Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the fourth, have broken publishing records, selling more than 400 million copies worldwide and spawning a blockbuster movie franchise that has earned billions of dollars.

Bloomsbury vigorously denied allegations of plagiarism when the case first came to court.

Reporting by Mike Collett-White in Berlin; Editing by Steve Addison