Warren Beatty obtained the rights to Dick Tracy in 1985 from Tribune Co., which he used to star in, direct and produce the 1990 Dick Tracy movie. There is a clause in Warren Beatty's agreement with Tribune that the rights would revert back to Tribune if he wasn't using them for a movie or TV project.
At issue was the 2009 TV special which featured Warren Beatty dressed in character as Dick Tracy, answering questions from film critic Leonard Maltin. The judge ruled this special provided adequate cause for Warren Beatty to retain the rights, even though the special only aired once on the Turner Classic Movies channel in July 2009.
It isn't clear what Warren Beatty actually plans to do with the rights, since that one-time TV special was only made so he could hold on to the property.