Harry Potter author Jk Rowling has launched a legal battle against a Russian writer alleged to have stolen her ideas.

Lawyers representing Rowling, her Dutch publisher HARMONIE and the American company TIME WARNER ENTERTAINMENT sought to prevent the Dutch release of a series of books about a character called TANYA GROTTER - the heroine of the Russian books who flies a magical double bass instead of a broomstick.

During three hours of legal argument in an Amsterdam, Netherlands court, Russian author DMITRY YEMETS was accused of "blatantly stealing" the Harry Potter story line, characters and plot for his books - which have already sold more than a million copies in Russia.

Dutch publisher BYBLOS plans to release 7,000 copies of the Russian books in what would be the first foreign publishing of the Grotter stories.

Rowling and Time Warner, which made the Harry Potter movies, alleged copyright and trademark infringement and plagiarism in their suit against the Amsterdam-based Byblos.

Lawyer ERIC KEYZER quoted from a Dutch newspaper headline that reads, "Tanya Grotter is a Harry Potter clone."

He cited another newspaper article in which Yemets reportedly admitted using Rowling's "framework".

Rowling, who only gave birth to her second child on Monday (24MAR03), is currently penning the fifth installment of the popular franchise, HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX - which will be published this summer (03).