CD Projekt RED have been awarded a trademark for the word “Cyberpunk.”
The new trademark makes sense in that it’s clearly to protect their upcoming RPG, Cyberpunk 2077, however some blowback on the various places across the web have made the developer explain (via Eurogamer) the reasoning behind trademarking a pretty widely-used word.
According to CD Projekt, this new trademark is a “self-defense measure only,” meaning they don’t intend on policing literally every game or intellectual property that uses the word “Cyberpunk.”
Here’s a breakdown of what the new trademark is all about, via CD Projekt:
WHAT DOES IT MEAN THAT CD PROJEKT OWNS THE TRADEMARK FOR “CYBERPUNK” ?
A trademark is not a copyright or patent — these are totally different rights and should not be confused. 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.), and does not refer to products that are already covered by trademark registration (more on that below). It also does not give any exclusivity to set a game in a certain environment, or in a certain genre (e.g. sci-fi, fantasy, horror, cyberpunk etc.).
I MAKE GAMES IN A CYBERPUNK SETTING, WHAT NOW?
As some of you might have researched, we already have registrations for “CYBERPUNK” trademarks in the U.S. filed in 2011. There wasn’t and there isn’t any evil plan behind that. If you have concerns, drop us a line.
DOES THE REGISTERED “CYBERPUNK” TRADEMARK PROHIBIT ANYONE FROM USING THE WORD “CYBERPUNK” IN THEIR GAME TITLE
Use of a protected word in a title may be prohibited only if it could confuse the customers. The trademark right cannot prohibit using a word as a descriptive term, as speaking about a genre of games, films, etc. The role of the trademark is only to protect words, signs used as titles of games, names of products, etc. If someone names their game: “JOHN SMITH: ADVENTURES IN A CYBERPUNK DYSTOPIAN SOCIETY” or “20 SHORT VIDEO GAMES SET IN CYBERPUNK WORLDS” none of them should be treated as an infringement of our rights. This is because, despite being part of a title, there is no risk that the consumers would associate these games with CD PROJEKT.
The last we heard of Cyberpunk 2077, the game was shaping up to be even bigger than The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which sounds kind of ridiculous at this point in terms of scale. CD Projekt said the game will have “complex technology for creating a huge living city,” as well as “seamless multiplayer,” and more.