Christian Gossett and Alec Peters made a short film called Prelude to Axanar, set 20 years before the original TV series, via a crowdfunding campaign in 2014, and then set up a new fundraising page to create a feature-length follow-up, titled Axanar, in 2015.

Their efforts raised more than $1 million (£811,300) and received the support of Star Trek icon George Takei, before the "first fully-professional, independent Star Trek film" went into production with a release date set for mid-2016.

However, bosses at CBS and Paramount launched legal action against the filmmakers in California in late 2015, accusing them of infringing on "copyrighted elements" of the franchise, including "its settings, characters, species, and themes".

They demanded a court injunction to halt the film's release, as well as unspecified damages.

The lawsuit has continued to rumble on, and on Tuesday (03Jan17), Judge R. Gary Klausner dismissed calls for a summary judgement, and declared the dispute will go before a jury, reports TheWrap.com.

In his ruling, he wrote, "With respect to the first core issue, the Court finds that the Axanar Works have objective substantial similarity to the Star Trek Copyrighted Works. The Court leaves the question of subjective substantial similarity to the jury."

Axanar follows the adventures of Federation captain Garth of Izar, an idol of William Shatner's Captain Kirk. The character was played by Steve Ihnat in a 1969 episode of Star Trek: The Original Series.