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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 October 2005, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
Date set for Da Vinci court case
Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown
Dan Brown's book has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide
A date has been arranged for High Court action by two authors against the publishers of The Da Vinci Code, which they say infringes upon their ideas.

A trial will begin on 27 February to hear the claim that writer Dan Brown stole Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh's idea that Jesus had a child.

They are suing Random House, claiming the bestseller lifts from their 1982 book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.

Lawyers for the two sides agreed on technical details without a hearing.

Mr Baigent and Mr Leigh's non-fiction work deals with theories that Jesus and Mary Magdalene married and their blood line continues to the present day.

Film version

They say Mr Brown's book, which explores similar ideas, constitutes "theft of intellectual property".

Random House, which recently reissued The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail through its Century division, denies the allegation.

The publisher said a "substantial" part of the claim by Mr Baigent and Mr Leigh had been dropped as a result of Thursday's discussions.

It added in a statement: "Random House is delighted with this result, which reinforces its long-held contention that this is a claim without merit."

In August, Mr Brown won a court ruling against another writer, Lewis Perdue, who claimed The Da Vinci Code copied elements of two of his novels, Daughter of God and The Da Vinci Legacy.

Mr Perdue had sought $150m (84m) in damages and asked the court to block distribution of the book and the movie adaptation, currently in production.

The Da Vinci Code won best book at this year's British Book Awards.

Mr Baigent and Mr Leigh wrote their book with a third author, Henry Lincoln, who is not taking part in the claim due to ill-health.

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