CD Projekt RED Clears the Air Over Cyberpunk Trademark
Recently, Polish video game developer CD Projekt RED (CDPR), creators of the Witcher video game series, filed a trademark for the word Cyberpunk. This, of course, is due to their current game in development, Cyberpunk 2077. The company’s trademark filing caused quite a stir around the Internet, leaving fans of the genre wondering what this would mean for the future.
It is not out of common practice for video game developers to trademark key words from the titles of their hard work. This keeps from knock-off games turning a profit by using identical titles. It has been a regular part of the developing process for decades. That hasn’t stopped a horde of concerned fans of the Cyberpunk genre from feeling that this is an unfair move on the developers part. A post on Reddit got a swarm of attention over the issue at hand. The original post read:
I hope they won’t be able to push that trademark, it’s kind of uncool move. We wouldn’t be able to have term cyberpunk used just like you can’t use terms Banner or Saga without a fear of being sued. Future games like A-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action would have to dance around the term that’s core to their concept and wouldn’t be able to use the term in the title.”
Cyberpunk 2077 is based on a pen and paper role-playing game created by Mike Pondsmith, author of Cyberpunk 2013 and Cyberpunk 2020. Pondsmith’s company, R. Talsorian Games previously owned the trademark in question, and CD Projekt RED acquired the rights from them. The company took to Twitter to clear the air over what exactly the intentions of the filing are, and as stated above, it’s to protect the company from others capitalizing on the potential success of their forthcoming game.
Information about Cyberpunk trademark. pic.twitter.com/4mufRCp9Gf
— CD PROJEKT RED (@CDPROJEKTRED) April 6, 2017
The trademark will not prevent anyone from creating media set within the cyberpunk genre, but it will inhibit anyone from using the word in their titles. There is the exception that the word cyberpunk is used as a descriptive term. The example that CD Projekt RED used makes it quite clear. A game titled John Smith: Adventures in a Cyberpunk Dystopian Society would not suffer any legal actions, whereas a title like Cyberpunk: An RPG would essentially associate the game with CDPR.
Titles are tricky business. Developers want a title that stands out and immediately makes players know who made it. For instance, look at Mass Effect. When someone hears that title, they probably know that it’s a game developed by BioWare. The trouble with CDPR’s title is that in order to secure the possibility of creating a series of games, they had to trademark that specific word. Trademarking the phrase Cyberpunk 2077 could allow someone else to create a game called Cyberpunk 2078 which would have no connection to CDPR, and could potentially damage the integrity of the company’s game.
The Polish developer made it very clear that their intentions are not invasive or malicious, but necessary to protect the hard work they’ve been putting into their latest game. Exactly when the world can experience the fruit of their labor has yet to be determined. Rest assured that the DFTG team will keep up to date as the news develops.
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Jon McAnally376 Posts
Hailing from the armpit of California, this most radical of nerds loves video games, comics, and collectibles (not dolls). Prepare to feast your eyes on the magical wonder that is his editorials.