Maybe one day, we can look back on these developments and laugh as we start our umpteenth playthrough of Half-Life 3. Until that time, the safest approach is to take every piece of news concerning Valve's seminal game with the biggest grain of salt you can get your hands on, even if the news comes from directly from Valve (see the HL3 t-shirt hubbub for further details). With that in mind, the news of the Half-Life 3 European trademark registration resulting in a hoax should come with absolutely no surprise.
Sure, the effort is valiant, and it undoubtedly worked in relation to generating renewed hype for those four words the gaming community longs to hear--"Half-Life 3 confirmed"--but it was all for naught. PCGamesN.com has the details:
We reported that the Half-Life 3 trademark registered a week ago was the work of Valve, but that now seems highly unlikely. The mark has now lost its page on the EU site - and come to think of it, was made in suspicious proximity to a similar mark for Portal 3.
A quick search of the trademark database in the link confirms the "Unsuccessful search: Found 0 trade marks" of status of Half-Life 3, at least in Europe. This moves players back into a square one status. Almost, anyway. While the trademark hoax is a thing, there's been no denial/retraction concerning the story that appeared in RockPaperShotgun.com, perhaps the best PC gaming blog on the web. As a refresher, their post indicated the following:
There is a thing called Jira that Valve uses for project management. Everything they do is tracked on it, and last night it accidentally went public--on the NeoGaf forum--and OHMYGOD THERE’S A HALF-LIFE 3 TEAM ON IT! No Ricochet 2 team, however.
Perhaps that can be the ray of hope for people to lean on. Until the time Half-Life 3 is really confirmed and/or released, the following Twitter account is probably your best resource for Half-Life 3's release status:
— Is HL3 Out Yet? (@IsHL3OutYet) October 6, 2013