Recently, it was discovered that CD Projekt Red had applied to trademark the word ‘Cyberpunk’ in Europe and already has the trademark over in the US. This caused quite a stir, especially since Cyberpunk is a general term used to describe a genre of science fiction in lots of media. Now in an effort to clear up some concerns, CD Projekt has come out with a statement explaining its decision to trademark the word ‘Cyberpunk’ while also detailing why it was needed in the first place.
Right now, CD Projekt Red is working on a new game, Cyberpunk 2077, which is based on the pen and paper RPG created by Mike Pondsmith. When CDPR acquired the rights to create games based on this universe, it also acquired a few ‘CYBERPUNK’ related trademarks, which were filed by Pondsmith before handing the reigns over. CDPR then applied for Cyberpunk trademarks in Europe to protect itself from potential legal issues in the future.
Here’s CD Projekt Red’s statement:
Information about Cyberpunk trademark. pic.twitter.com/4mufRCp9Gf
— CD PROJEKT RED (@CDPROJEKTRED) April 6, 2017
So to avoid someone else potentially getting the Cyberpunk trademark and blocking CD Projekt Red’s future work in this franchise, the company chose to obtain the trademark itself as a defensive mechanism should it ever be needed.
It is important to understand that a trademark is not a copyright or patent, this won’t give CD Projekt exclusivity over the Cyberpunk setting in videogames. If a developer tried to name their game ‘Cyberpunk 2078’, then that would be a problem but other than that, it doesn’t sound like the studio is interested in cracking down on other studios using the word Cyberpunk for their games. It just has different enough to not confuse customers, or imply involvement with CDPR’s own Cyberpunk series.
KitGuru Says: CD Projekt Red are always pretty active when it comes to addressing community concerns and maintaining their public image. The explanation seems solid enough to me, though there will always be the risk that a developer could be blocked from using Cyberpunk in their own game title.