The internet exploded today following news that Sony had "abandoned" the trademark for their much-anticipated PlayStation 3 game The Last Guardian. And indeed the US Patent and Trademark Office has filed a "Notice of Abandonment" to inform Sony that the trademark is reverting to public domain.
But despite rampant speculation, this doesn't mean that the long-troubled game has been cancelled, nor does it mean that Sony is abandoning anything. What it means is that the trademark expired. Sony had three years to use The Last Guardian's trademark, which was filed in 2009. They haven't. The game has not been released.
As Kotaku columnist Superannuation points out on Twitter, Sony would have until January 2013 to "prove use in commerce". In other words, they would have to release the game by then. That's not happening.
So what happens now? Sony can request an appeal or easily file a new registration for the trademark. They don't have to worry about anybody stealing it just for fun, since US laws make it difficult to "park" on a trademark without proving that you intend to use it. I've reached out to Sony just in case they have other plans. But it sure seems like this isn't big news at all.
Update: Sony sent a statement to Wired's Chris Kohler: "The Last Guardian is still in development."