CD Projekt Red’s first non-Witcher game, Cyberpunk 2077, uses a common genre name as part of its title, which has recently led to a bit of controversy regarding their trademark of the term. Fans were concerned the trademarking of a term as common as “Cyberpunk” would lead to some aggressive naming lawsuits, similar to the one between ex-Minecraft develop Notch and Bethesda over the term “Scrolls” (which was settled in 2012). According to CDPR, that won’t be the case.
Recently, the company took to twitter with a short FAQ image about what their trademark means for Cyberpunk 2077 and other games with “Cyberpunk” in the title. “We want to protect our hard work,” the company statement reads. “We don’t plan on using the trademark offensively – it’s a self-defense measure only.”
The company then details how it acquired the rights to create video games set in the Mike Pondsmith’s “Cyberpunk” pen and paper RPGs from R. Talsorian Games, the RPGs’ publisher. The statement then mentions how the trademark would prevent other companies from telling them they can’t create other games with “Cyberpunk” in the title in the future.
The statement also makes clear CDPR’s trademark doesn’t prevent anyone from setting their game in a Cyberpunk universe, or even call it as much. “If someone names their game: “John Smith: Adventures In A Cyberpunk Dystopian Society” . . . [it] should not 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.”
[Source: CD Projekt Red’s Twitter Page]
CDPR strikes me as a pretty chill company, but we’ll have to wait and see. Who knows what it ends up deeming as not infringing on its rights and what it doesn’t. On a related note, I’m super-excited about this new game that transports 17th-century explorer John Smith into a futuristic cyberpunk setting. Just think of the hijinks!