Sony has abandoned the trademark for oft-delayed Team ICO sequel The Last Guardian. The hotly anticipated PS3 exclusive was first teased way back in 2008, but details have been conspicuously slender ever since. Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida reassured that the game was still in development earlier in the year.

Regardless, Sony’s silence has caused the title’s trademark to lapse. Of course, that doesn’t say much about the state of the project itself: the platform holder may have unintentionally forgotten to update the registration, meaning it would have two months to file a petition to retrieve it.

The Last Guardian's trademark was originally issued in January 2010, so Sony has until January 2013 to prove its “use in commerce”. Unfortunately, as online sleuth Superannuation remarks, that would mean a completed game, which, as far as we know, doesn't exist. The company could, of course, always register a new trademark if this one lapses.

Whatever the reason for the trademark's abandonment, it's clear that The Last Guardian is not at the forefront of Sony's plans. We've still got a hunch that the title will re-emerge on PlayStation 4. What do you reckon?

[via tarr.uspto.gov, twitter.com]