The United States Patent and Trademark Office has listed the trademark of The Last Guardian by Sony as expired as of today. The cancelation of the application, spotted by NEOGaf earlier today, was originally filed in 2012 with extensions filed by Sony every year until now. This would lead some to confirm what has been rumored for a long time, that The Last Guardian for the PlayStation 3 may now be officially canceled.
This marks the second time the game’s trademark has expired, according to VentureBeat. The entry from the USPTO’s site says, “abandoned because no Statement of Use or Extension Request [was] timely filed after Notice of Allowance was issued.” The question of a deliberate cancelation or accidental cancelation of The Last Guardian’s trademark has yet to be determined.
The cancelation of the The Last Guardian’s trademark could bring an end to almost eight years of development from Sony’s Team Ico, which produced the cult hits ICO and Shadows of the Colossus for the PlayStation 2.
Team ICO has not released a new game since Shadows of the Colossus in 2005. Bluepoint Games handled the HD ports of ICO and Shadows of the Colossus for the PlayStation 3 in 2011. Team ICO starting working on The Last Guardian in 2007 and lent assistance to Bluepoint for the collection but left the bulk of the work to them. Team ICO has gone dark for several years with rumors of delays and cancelations surrounding the game. The last update on The Last Guardian came with new screenshots in 2011.
Sony has not officially commented if The Last Guardian is indeed canceled. Expiration of the trademark can mean different things. Jesse Saivar, a copyright lawyer, talked to Venture Beat about the possible ramifications of the USPTO’s trademark expiration.
The first is simply that Sony forgot to file the paperwork to keep the copyright active. Sony still has two months in which to tell the USPTO that it missed the deadline and can ask for another extension while paying a fine. Kiphanie Radford of SCEA’s legal team, who was in charge of filing the trademark information, is no longer with the company which could lend validity to the oversight.
The second possibility is that Sony has no further intention of using the title, The Last Guardian. This does not mean the game is canceled, but Team ICO and Sony may wish to rebrand the game to escape development hell since 2007 and was even removed as a pre-order SKU with GameStop in 2011, according to the Inquisitr.
The third option is that The Last Guardian has been canceled. Team ICO suffered the loss of the game’s director Fumito Ueda but publicly stated he was still invested in finishing the game as a contractor. As of last year, he was still maintaining this stance. Combined with the lack of information or new material for the game, those hoping for another entry in the ICO universe may be disappointed. Until Sony comments on this development, we will not know for sure.
[Image Source | Sony]