A copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Sir Elton John and his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin over their hit song Nikita has been thrown out of court.

Photojournalist/songwriter Guy Hobbs launched legal action in April (12), claiming Elton's 1985 track was a copy of his own tune Natasha, which he wrote three years earlier and had allegedly sent to executives at music publishing firm Big Pig - the company which handles the Rocket Man's songs.

The defendants moved to have the lawsuit dismissed in August (12), insisting the motion was "completely meritless" - and a Chicago, Illinois judge has agreed.

Judge Amy St. Eve ruled that both songs shared similar themes and phrases, but that these were prevalent in modern music.

She added, "Moreover, phrases and themes that are common, trite, or cliched are not protected under copyright laws."