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Nancy Stouffer

Nancy K. Stouffer, also known as N. K. Stouffer, is the author of a 1984 children's book called The Legend of Rah and the Muggles and another children's book series involving characters called Lilly and Larry Potter.

Stouffer sued J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, claiming trademark infringement over the term Muggles, but a U.S court ruled in favor of Rowling.

Comparison of books and characters

The Muggles in Stouffer's book are different. What was allegedly infringed was the term—not characters or story ideas—although Stouffer's book has on its front cover a castle in the mountains by a lake (the same setting as Hogwarts school).

Harry Potter's mother is Lily. Harry Potter's first name rhymes with Larry, and the last names are identical. Harry and Larry both wear glasses and have black hair. Larry's hair is wavy; Harry's is "unruly". Larry Potter does not appear in "The Legend of Rah and the Muggles"--he is a character in a series of activity books created by Stouffer and reprinted recently. There is confusion about whether Larry actually had a last name in the original activity books, which are now impossible to find.

The terms Nevils and Nimbus appear in Stouffer's book. ("Nimbus" does not appear in "The Legend of Rah and the Muggles" but in an unpublished book by Stouffer.) In Rowling's books, there is a character named Neville, and a brand of flying broomstick is Nimbus.

Outcome of court case

In September 2002 the U.S. District Court for southern New York found not only that Rowling did not pilfer the Muggles, but also that Stouffer had lied to the court and doctored evidence to support her claims. The court fined Stouffer $50,000 for this "pattern of intentional bad faith conduct"[1].

Stouffer maintains her position and denies the allegations from Rowling and Scholastic Press that resulted in the ruling. She has filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the Court and intends to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit if that motion is denied.

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