Beatty produced, directed and starred as the sharp-jawed detective in a 1990 movie released by The Walt Disney Co.
The 69-year-old actor-director wants to make a sequel. He sued Tribune Media Services last year claiming he owns the film rights as the result of a deal he made in 1985.
Tribune Media Services has argued it holds the film rights to the character. The company is a division of Chicago-based Tribune Co., which owns radio and TV stations nationwide and newspapers including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.
Last year, U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson ruled the lawsuit could go forward. On Monday, Pregerson heard arguments on Tribune's motion to rule on its behalf. Beatty wasn't in the courtroom.
Maura Wogan, a Tribune Co. lawyer, argued that a deal Beatty made with Disney to reserve rights to make a Tracy film required permission from Tribune to be valid.
Beatty's lawyer, Bert Fields, argued his client didn't need consent to reserve the rights.