Activision has lost the Tenchu franchise after failing to provide evidence that the firm is actively continuing to use the trademark in a commercial setting.
The Tenchu franchise started life on the PlayStation back in 1998 under the guise of Tenchu: Stealth Assassins. It received high praise from critics and players alike and spawned a heap of games that released on the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and even the DS.
What’s interesting is that Activision no longer has a hold over the franchise as they recently lost the trademark surrounding it, as governed by the Trademark Act.
Section 8 of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1058 is a regulation that requires a sworn declaration on the “continued use” of a trademark or “excusable nonuse,” to be provided between the 5th and 6th years and between the 9th and 10th years after the registration date.
The last game to release in the series was Tenchu: Shadow Assassins for the PSP and Wii in 2008 (and it wasn’t published by Activision, anyway). Since then, nothing.
It’s worth pointing out that the original developer of the series (Aquire) recently mentioned that the studio will be returning to consoles with another game, though whether or not it’s a Tenchu title remains to be seen.