Representatives for the estate of late fantasy writer Adrian Jacobs filed suit in America in 2009, alleging the author approached Rowling's U.K. publishers Bloomsbury in 1987, 10 years before his death, and unsuccessfully attempted to sell them his Willy The Wizard stories.
In court papers estate administrators accused Rowling of copying parts of the plot of his book, including a wizard contest and wizards travelling by train, for her 2000 novel Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
But New York Judge Shira Scheindlin threw out the case on Thursday (06Jan11), writing in a 49-page ruling that there are major differences between the stories.
In papers Scheindlin writes, ""Indeed, a reading of the works unequivocally confirms that they are distinctly different in both substance and style, and ultimately engender very different visceral responses from their readers. The contrast between the total concept and feel of the works is so stark that any serious comparison of the two strains credulity.""
And bosses at Scholastic, the U.S. publisher of the Potter series, are pleased with the outcome.
Spokesperson Kyle Good tells Reuters, ""The court's swift dismissal supports our position that the case was completely without merit and that comparing Willy The Wizard to the Harry Potter series was absurd. Judge Scheindlin clearly agreed... Scholastic will continue to vigorously defend any such frivolous claims challenging the originality of Harry Potter and the brilliant imagination of its author, J.K. Rowling.""
Rowling and bosses at Bloomsbury are still fighting similar claims by the estate in Britain after Justice David Kitchin refused their request to have the case thrown out last October (10).