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Marvel, Fox Settle Mutant Dispute

By Beth Hannan Rimmels

Marvel Comics and Twentieth Century Fox have settled a federal lawsuit involving licensing rights for the X-Men characters. While the settlement terms were not released a statement issued by Fox said that the dispute was "amicably resolved" and that both sides are looking forward to expanding the relationship. Fox produced the 2000 film X-Men, based on the original comic book characters, and a sequel is scheduled for release this summer. In April 2001 Fox sued Marvel, Tribune Entertainment and Fireworks Entertainment, claiming that the syndicated TV show Mutant X violated the licensing agreement between Fox and Marvel involving the X-Men characters. Fox asked that production on the series be halted. Marvel countersued, asking the court to dismiss Fox's claims and arguing that Mutant X used different characters than the X-Men. A federal judge in New York ruled that the series could proceed as long as no reference was made to the original X-Men comic books, characters or Fox movie. However, the judge allowed Fox to pursue a claim of breach of contract.

Fox, however, has not settled its lawsuit against Tribune Entertainment, the syndicator, and Fireworks Entertainment, the producer and international distributor.