UPDATE: It has been brought to our attention that this copyright is almost certainly fake. Apparently, the dead giveaway is the lack of an application reference number. We’ve contacted the company listed on the trademark to confirm this, but in the mean time we’d advice you now take this news with a moon sized grain of salt. It should be noted that a fake copyright for Fallout 4 was registered with this same organization on November 14th. The registration has since been removed. We’ll be keeping an eye on this registration and we’ll bring you updates when we can, but now this trademark should be considered a hoax. To check out the original story, go below the fold. To get an overview of the rash of trademark hoaxes and how they’ve been happening, check out this CVG article.
A few days ago, SEGA trademarked Shenmue III through the R.G.C. Jenkins & Co., the same company through which they trademarked Sonic Lost World. You can find the trademark here, on the OHIM website, a trademark registration website for the European Union. There is no way to link directly to the trademark page, so please use the search function.
It is fairly common for companies to trademark potential gaming projects, as well as to renew trademarks for franchises they have not touched in years. SEGA renewed their trademark for the original Shenmue in 2009. The Shenmue III trademark is not a renewal, however, and was trademarked very recently, on November 25th. What does all this mean? Not much at the moment. Trademarks will often precede the announcement of new games, but more often these trademarks are registered purely for legal reasons, to “preserve” the company’s ability to use that name in the future. Still, with the original Shenmue name already trademarked, trademarking Shenmue III seems pretty superfluous.
This is far from a confirmation of anything, and it should go without saying that everyone should take this with a mountain of salt. It is confirmation of one thing though: somewhere within SEGA, there is some interest in Shenmue III. It might not be enough to lead to the creation of an actual game, but it is something.