Lately, developer studio CD Projekt Red have come under fire over their attempt to trademark the word “cyberpunk”. A lot of people on the Internet take this to mean that CDPR will be able to sue anybody that uses the word. Creators of the Witcher series and the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 have responded to the controversy. They’ve posted a short breakdown of what the trademark actually does on their official Twitter page.
Gamers were up in arms recently over CD Projekt Red filing to trademark the word “cyberpunk”. Many people instantly drew parallels to the infamous Fine Brothers fiasco. A lot of them were worried that CDPR would use the trademark offensively, suing everybody that uses the word “cyberpunk”. The people at CDPR have responded to the situation by posting a breakdown of what the trademark means and how they can be used in a Twitter post.
First off, they explain that they will use the trademark defensively. The word has actually been trademarked by Mike Pondsmith, the creator of the pen’n’paper role-playing games that Cyberpunk 2077 is based on. In 2011, CD Projekt Red took over the trademark registrations. Hell, Mike Pondsmith is working on the project as well, as a consultant.
The prime reason behind the trademark is to basically prevent anyone else from doing so. That way, they could seriously hurt CDPR. As the text says, if somebody did trademark the word, they could block any further work on the project or attempt to resell the trademark for a bunch of money.
More importantly, a trademark is not the same as a copyright or patent. Having a trademark does not mean nobody else can create a game in a cyberpunk setting. In fact, as the post says: “A registered trademark does not prohibit from using the word “Cyberpunk” if it’s not used in the course of business (e.g. branding, advertising, etc).”
Another situation where a trademark can be defensive is if somebody has the word “Cyberpunk” in the title in a way that could “confuse the customers”. That part is a little vague, yes. An example would be if somebody built a game called Cyberpunk 2177, or something like that. A title that’s distinct enough shouldn’t be subject to any kind of trademark dispute.
Cyberpunk 2077 will come out for the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. So far, there’s no set release date.