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Sony Lets "Last Guardian" Trademark Expire, Game Still Lives


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!


Bill said:

It does make me happy, but just a miniscule amount. I wish they'd just get it done already before they do mess up too much & make it so it isn't released. This is ridiculous!

This game was one of the three reasons I bought a PS3 in the first place (along with Uncharted and Noby Noby Boy). But it's spent so long in development hell that I will be very surprised if it lives up to the expectations that have been dumped on in. Of course, the fact that people have deified Ico and Colossus so crazily can't help matters.

I wonder what good reason there could be for it to be held up this long... lack of funding? Hard to believe given the game's expectations and prestige level. My most optimistic hope is that they are pushing the PS3's technological capabilities so far to the limit that they're waiting for patches and optimization to catch up.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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