LONDON (AP) _ A British judge ruled Friday that best-selling thriller ``The Da Vinci Code'' did not steal ideas from two authors' nonfiction book.
High Court judge Peter Smith rejected a copyright-infringement claim by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, authors of ``The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail,'' who claimed that Dan Brown's blockbuster ``appropriated the architecture'' of their 1982 book. In the United States, the book is titled, ``Holy Blood, Holy Grail.''
``Today's verdict shows that this claim was utterly without merit, I'm still astonished that these two authors chose to file their suit at all,'' Brown in a statement, adding that he was ``eager to get back to writing.''
``I'm pleased with today's outcome, not only from a personal standpoint but also as a novelist,'' he said.
Both books explore theories that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, the couple had a child and the bloodline survives. Most historians and theologians scoff at such ideas, but Brown's fast-paced mix of murder, mysticism, code-breaking and art history has won millions of fans.
``The Da Vinci Code'' has sold more than 40 million copies _ including 12 million hardcovers in the United States _ since it was released in March 2003. It came out in paperback in the United States last week, and quickly sold more than 500,000 copies, an astonishing pace for a paperback release. An initial print run of 5 million has already been raised to 6 million.