JK Rowling has been accused in a High Court writ of stealing ideas from a children`s book about a wizard published in the late 1980s for her novel Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, according to Telegraph.co.uk.
The writ claims she took central ideas from The Adventures of Willy the Wizard No 1: Livid Land, a book published in 1987 by English author Adrian Jacobs, who died penniless a decade later.
Rowling said she would be applying to the court to have the case dismissed for being without merit, and criticised the claims as "not only unfounded but absurd".
Central to the claim is that she took Jacobs` ideas including notably wizard colleges, wizards travelling on trains and a wizarding tournament.
All three are present in the Goblet of Fire, as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry; the Hogwarts Express, and the Triwizarding Tournament..
Lawyers for Paul Allen, the sole trustee of Jacobs` estate, brought the original action against Rowling`s UK publisher Bloomsbury last June.
Mr Allen said: "The estate – which acts independently of Adrian Jacobs` family – has been in correspondence with lawyers for Rowling and her publishers for several years but have been repeatedly rebuffed. We have taken expert legal advice and we believe we have very strong case."
He explained that Rowling had only now been added to the case due to the technicalities of the legal process.
"We have only joined JK Rowling to our lawsuit against Bloomsbury after discovering legal cause of action against her within the last six years.
"Previously we were advised we were `out of time` to bring an action against JK Rowling herself as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was published in the year 2000."
Nick Tidnam, the artist who was commissioned by Jacobs to illustrate his book, said he did not realise the alleged parallels between the two until they were pointed out to him.
The millionairess author, who rarely comments on legal claims made against her Harry Potter books, responded: "I am saddened that yet another claim has been made that I have taken material from another source to write Harry.
``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.``
She continued: ``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.``
Jacobs failed to find a commercial publisher and paid for 5,000 copies of the 36-page book to be published in 1987.
He suffered a stroke later that year and was declared bankrupt in 1991. He died in a London hospice in 1997.
The legal claim first surfaced in 2004, by solicitors acting for Jacobs` only son Jonathan.By Stephen Adams, Telegraph.co.uk