The South Park Digital Studio has filed a preliminary objection to THQ's proposed sale of South Park: The Stick of Truth.
The embattled publisher is to sell off its key games and assets during a major IP auction which took place on Tuesday. But the RPG South Park: The Stick of Truth should not be included in the auction, its licensor claims.
Written in legal documents is the claim that THQ cannot reassign the license agreement to another company without the prior consent of the license owner.
SPDS says it will consider offering its approval of a sale only "after it has been provided with a copy of the bids, the identity of the prospective purchaser, and a proposal for curing all outstanding defaults and providing adequate assurance of future performance."
According to the filing, the "outstanding defaults" it refers to total at least $2,275,000.
In a responding filing, THQ contests that since the license was exclusive, it is included within the definition of a "Transfer of Copyright Ownership".
Under this definition, the property rights are in the hands of the license holder, and consequently "exclusive licenses may be assigned without the licensor's consent".
The publisher filed for bankruptcy in December and proposed that its assets would be sold to investment firm Clearlake.
However, bankruptcy Judge Mary Walrath ruled against this, following complaints from THQ creditors, leaving the cash-strapped publisher with few options.
The bidding deadline for the THQ auction passed 9am Eastern Time today, January 22. The highest bidders will be declared today before a second auction will take place.
Warner Bros, EA, Ubisoft and even Double Fine are among the numerous companies that have shown an interest. Formal announcements are expected tomorrow.