In very early January we shared interesting intel from a theme park forum where a source said Universal and the Tolkien family were working on developing a Lord of the Rings/Hobbit theme park.

Now a new trademark registered just one week ago lends credence to these reports.

We’re actually surprised it’s taken this long for The Saul Zaentz Company – who owns the worldwide film, stage, and merchandise rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchises – to get the trademark for “Middle-Earth.”

Nonetheless, the trademark was filed January 22 and covers “Amusement arcades; Children’s entertainment and amusement center show; Entertainment services, namely, arranging and conducting special events at an amusement park; Providing amusement parks; Providing recreation facilities; Providing theme park services.”

In other words, a Middle Earth theme park.

This is by no means official confirmation of a park where you get to run around like a Hobbit and eat multiple breakfasts (could you imagine?!), but it’s undoubtedly an interesting piece of evidence to tack onto our report from January 2.

The rumored story of how Universal and the Tolkien family got together on this project is an interesting one. Universal reportedly asked Warner Bros. to approach the Tolkien’s first. The park asked the studio to make first contact because of the existing relationship Tolkien and WB have built to create The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies.

Warner Bros. told the Tolkien’s about the success of The Wizarding World theme park and how the final product was loyal to J.K. Rowling’s story and very well received by fans. Reportedly, the Tolkien’s even spoke to Rowling herself. It was only after all this that Universal and the Tolkien’s began developing ideas.

The Middle Earth franchise is a hot one over the next couple of years. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opened in December and went on to surpass the box office numbers of two Lord of the Rings films. Two more Hobbit films are due out in December 2013 and July 2014.

Thanks to ParkRumors.com, who caught the trademark filing.