3D Realms has responded to Gearbox Software's Duke Nukem trademark violation lawsuit by claiming that it still owns the license to the franchise.
The studio is currently preparing to release Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction, a top-down action game starring the '90s gaming hero.
Last month Gearbox announced its intention to sue 3D Realms and Mass Destruction developer Interceptor Entertainment for allegedly using the IP it claims it owns without permission.
3D Realms has now submitted an official response to the complaint stating that, as part of the asset purchase agreement that saw Gearbox acquiring the then-unfinished Duke Nukem Forever in 2010, 3D Realms was entitled to complete and release a game called Duke Nukem Survivor, which it would appear is now Mass Destruction.
3D Realms also argues that Gearbox doesn't own the Duke Nukem trademark, claiming it was never part of the asset purchase agreement. "The Duke Nukem trademark rights remain the sole property of 3DR," it says.
3D Realms sued Gearbox in June 2013, claiming that the Borderlands studio owed it $2 million in royalties as part of its Duke Nukem Forever rights acquisition deal. However, that suit was dropped last October.
Following its formation in 2010, Interceptor began development of Duke Nukem 3D: Reloaded - a remake of Duke Nukem 3D - but the game was put on an indefinite hold pending the resolution of differences between the company and Gearbox.
Interceptor Entertainment acquired 3D Realms earlier this month.