The estate of the late Adrian Jacobs yesterday added Rowling as a defendant in a case originally filed in June against Bloomsbury Publishing, Potter's UK publisher, for alleged copyright infringement.
Max Markson, a PR executive representing the estate, told the Guardian the addition of Rowling's name to the action opened up the possibility of multi-jurisdiction action.
"We believe that she [Rowling] personally plagiarised the Willy the Wizard book. All of Willy the Wizard is in the Goblet of Fire. We now have a case which is not just against Bloomsbury."
Markson, who was a friend of Jacobs, said Rowling was added to the lawsuit after it was learned that the statute of limitations to sue her had not run out as previously thought. She is named in the suit under her married name of Joanne Kathleen Murray.
"I estimate it's a billion-dollar case," Markson said. "That'll be the decision of the courts, obviously."
Rowling denies the claims. "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 said in a statement.
"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 suit claims Rowling's book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire copied substantial parts of Jacobs' 36-page book The Adventures of Willy the Wizard – No 1 Livid Land. The plagiarism claims stem from both Willy and Harry being required to solve a task as part of a contest, which they achieve in a bathroom assisted by clues from helpers.
"The claim was unable to identify any text in the Harry Potter books which was said to copy Willy the Wizard." <-- Hmm...then how can they sue her for plagiarizing?!
Image taken from google image.