Well, this doesn't quite beat last week's Steam-related announcements, but it's still mildly exciting. As Polygon reports, Valve has filed a trademark application for Half-Life 3 in the European Union. Here's the skinny, in Polygon's words:
The OHIM's database lists the Half-Life 3 trademark as owned by Valve Corporation, and filed on its behalf by Casalonga & Associés, a patent and trademark firm. The trademark covers "computer game software," "downloadable computer game software via a global computer network and wireless devices" and other goods and services. The application was filed on Sept. 29.
Polygon points out that the records of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office suggest Valve has yet to file for a similar trademark at home. Either that, or those government shutdown shenanigans got in the way.
None of this tells us how close Half-Life 3 is to completion, of course, and I wouldn't necessarily hold my breath. For instance, according to the EU's trademark records, Valve filed its application for Left 4 Dead on November 22, 2006, roughly two years before that game's release. We could be facing a similar delay this time, for all we know.
So, yes, Half-Life 3 is coming—at some point in the future.