Nintendo has filed a new Pokemon-related trademark in Japan....but it's not the one everyone is expecting.
Earlier this week, Nintendo filed a trademark for the distinctive L-shaped logo that adorned Ash Ketchum's hat in the original Pokemon anime. The trademark is for clothing purposes, so it appears that Nintendo is getting ready to sell official versions of Ash's iconic hat.
Ash's original hat was an official Pokemon League Expo hat that he obtained by sending in "a million" postcards during a contest. There were only 100 hats given away by the Pokemon League, which is why Ash was originally very attached to his hat during the original anime series.
Eventually, Ash switched out his hat for a new one before his journey through the Hoenn region. Since then, he's switched out hats whenever journeying to a new region. Ash's original hat hasn't made a grand return in the anime since, although an updated version did appear in Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You and its upcoming sequel Pokemon the Movie: Everyone's Story. Even though Ash left his hat behind over a decade ago, it still makes occasional appearances in games like Pokemon Go and is still instantly recognizable by a legion of old school Pokemon fans.
While it's not too hard to get a replica of Ash's hat via eBay or other third parties, it's been a while since Nintendo officially licensed a replica of the hat. In fact, Nintendo could be filing the trademark to shut down on the many, many unlicensed versions of the hat that you can purchase online.
Unfortunately, this is the only Pokemon-related trademark Nintendo's filed in a while. Many fans are anxiously waiting for news on a new Pokemon Switch game and are hoping that a trademark or copyright filing gives an early tease as to its eventual announcement. Fans learned of Pokemon Sun and Moon's existence before it was officially announced thanks to a Japanese trademark filing.
We'll have to see if Nintendo plans to just release a line of hats with Ash's original logo, or if he has other plans. Either way, Pokemon fans could soon be able to buy an official Pokemon League hat...just like Ash Ketchum.