Months, possibly years of lengthy court battles and escalating legal fees were averted today when The Rev. Brendan Powell Smith and GOD settled out-of-court the matter of rights to the universe. The fight began a few weeks back when Smith inadvertently stumbled upon the fact that GOD had never patented the universe, and that it was therefore in the public domain. After securing a patent himself, Smith sued GOD for his ongoing claims of ownership. The amount of the settlement is unknown at this point, but insiders believe that it could be upwards of US$5.