Bloomsbury Publishing Plc on Monday denied allegations that author J.K. Rowling copied "substantial parts" of a book by another children's author when she wrote "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."
The book, published in 2000, was the fourth installment of the hugely successful boy wizard Harry Potter series that has sold more than 400 million copies worldwide and been turned into a multi-billion-dollar film franchise.
"The allegations of plagiarism made today, Monday 15 June 2009, by the Estate of Adrian Jacobs are unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue," said a statement from Bloomsbury, which publishes Harry Potter in Britain.
"This claim is without merit and will be defended vigorously."
In an earlier statement, Jacobs' estate said that it had issued proceedings at London's High Court against Bloomsbury Publishing Plc for copyright infringement.
It named the estate's trustee as Paul Allen, and said that Rowling had copied "substantial parts" of "The Adventures of Willy the Wizard -- No 1 Livid Land" written by Jacobs in 1987.
It added that 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.
"It is alleged that all of these are concepts first created by Adrian Jacobs in Willy the Wizard, some 10 years before J.K. Rowling first published any of the Harry Potter novels and 13 years before Goblet of Fire was published,” the estate statement said.
In its response, Bloomsbury said Rowling "had never heard of Adrian Jacobs nor seen, read or heard of his book Willy the Wizard until this claim was first made in 2004, almost seven years after the publication of the first book in the highly publicized Harry Potter series.
"Willy the Wizard is a very insubstantial booklet running to 36 pages which had 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."
"The claim was unable to identify any text in the Harry Potter books which was said to copy Willy the Wizard."
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