America's Cup champion Alinghi has lost its court battle against rivals BMW Oracle, raising hopes of the reinstatement of the 2009 event.
BMW Oracle will now open talks on the 2009 America's Cup
Organisers postponed the next race after BMW Oracle took Alinghi to court claiming they had chosen an illegitimate yacht club as challenger.
The New York State Supreme Court ruled BMW Oracle's Golden Gate Yacht club was Challenger of Record.
That means it can negotiate the rules of the next regatta in Valencia, Spain.
BMW Oracle Racing owner Larry Ellison had argued the rules of the next event were unfairly weighted in Alinghi's favour, including the right to disqualify teams or bar them entering sailing's most prestigious regatta.
Alinghi had chosen Spain's Club Nautico Espanol de Vela as Challenger of Record, a status that allows it to set the rules with the holder.
But Judge Herman J Cahn ruled it was not eligible for the role because it does not hold an annual regatta.
Alinghi owner Ernesto Bertarelli, who had accused Ellison of trying to win in the court room where he had twice failed on the water, said he was disappointed with the decision.
"There will now be a thorough review of the judge's decision and an analysis of the various options offered," he said in a statement.
BMW Oracle chief executive Russell Coutts said he wanted a meeting with Alinghi as soon as possible to set the rules.
"We will be very happy if we can put the last few months behind us and get on with sailing," said the former Alinghi skipper who fell out with Bertarelli and was sacked in 2004.
BMW Oracle Racing spokesman Tom Ehman added that the team wanted "a proper, traditional, multi-challenge regatta here in Valencia in 2009 with a challenger selection series".
"We want to do it with mutual consent, not having the defender dictate terms to us," he added.