Blackstone silk convinces court that Harry Potter author should face copyright claim

Mr Justice Kitchin has ruled that Harry Potter author JK Rowling and her publishing house Bloomsbury should face claims for copyright infringement in the High Court.

In rejecting the defendants’ application for summary judgment to dismiss the case, Kitchin J ruled that the claim had a chance of success although it was “improbable”. If the case goes to trial the claimant, Paul Allen, may have to provide security for costs, it was ruled.

DMH Stallard partner Nick Kounoupias instructed Blackstone Chambers’ Robert Howe QC to represent Allen in his claim against the author and publishing house.

The trustees of the estate of the late Adrian Jacobs, of which Allen is one, claim that themes from Jacobs’ 1987 book The Adventures of Willy the Wizard are copied in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which was published in 2000, and allege that Rowling therefore has infringed copyright.

At a High Court hearing in July, 8 New Square’s John Baldwin QC, instructed by Schillings partner Gideon Benaim for JK Rowling, slammed the claim for lacking any merit. He described the claim as “absurd” and “a disgrace” and requested it be thrown out.

Reynolds Porter Chamberlain instructed Andrew Sutcliffe QC of 3 Verulam Buildings for Bloomsbury.

“I’ve reached the conclusion that this claim may succeed but that it’s improbable it will do so,” Kitchin J concluded.

The case will now be set down for a High Court hearing.