Having stopped just short of writing "I <3 Shadow of the Colossus" across the sky with celestial ink, it's fair to say that I'm rather excited about The Last Guardian. Unfortunately, my digital dalliance has yet to come to fruition, instead finding yours truly stood up for the umteenth time: mournfully plucking petal after petal from his bouquet of flowers, listening to Lisa Loeb's "Stay," and softly sobbing into the sleeves of the suit that I rented for what was supposed to be our special night.
Thus, a slight tinge of panic ran up the collective spine last week, when it was widely reported that Sony had abandoned the trademark for The Last Guardian, once again raising fears that its protracted development cycle would amount to little more than a digital tombstone for the creature known as "Adorable Bird-Cat." Luckily, such a death shall not befall our winged friend
until the end of the game, as Sony has confirmed that The Last Guardian is still in development. In fact, the "abandonment" not not of trademark rights; rather, Sony simply allowed the application to expire.
Game Informer spoke with Eric Chad, an attorney specializing in intellectual property at Merchant & Gould in Minneapolis, who stated that Sony most likely abandoned the trademark because it was not to be used in the near future - a condition required by the government in order to approve a trademark.
According to Chad, such safeguards exist to keep individuals or companies from filing frivolous applications - or as Game Informer puts it: "This prevents someone from registering every word in the dictionary and then suing everyone for everything they sell." Chad expanded on the nature of trademark law:
In this instance, Sony filed an 'intent-to-use' application, where they essentially told the Patent & Trademark Office, 'Hey, we'd like to register this trademark on certain classes of goods, and we're not using it in commerce yet, but we will,' Chad explains. "Under the Lanham Act (the statutes governing most of trademark law), Sony then had to submit to the PTO, within a certain period of time (usually one year), a statement saying they were actually using the trademark. Obviously, they're not doing that yet, so they couldn't submit such a statement.
So essentially, it seems that Sony has taken my position on The Last Guardian: As lovely as it might be, there's no sense in trying to predict when it will be released.
What do you think, gamers? Does the news of The Last Guardian's non-death bring joy to your collective hearts? Do you expect the game to see release before Death's wraith-like hand pulls you, kicking and screaming, into the infinite void? Sound off in the comments section below!