The Witcher and Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt has attempted to quell the criticism it has faced over a recent trademark filing.
The studio came in for some heat recently when it was discovered that it had filed a trademark for ‘cyberpunk’. People were not happy for fear that the company was trying to appropriate a genre that has pre-dated its game by quite some margin.
However, CD Projekt has in a detailed explanation laid out why this is most definitely not the case.
As some of you might have researched, we already have registrations for ‘Cyberpunk’ trademarks in the US filed in 2011. There wasn’t and there isn’t any evil plan behind that,” it said. We want to protect our hard work and we don’t plan on using the trademark offensively – it’s a self-defense measure only.
Should we ever decide to create a sequel, there’s a possibility of someone telling us we can’t name it, say, ‘Cyberpunk 2028′ or ‘Cyberpunk 2′. Moreover, if someone else registered this trademark in the future, they could prohibit CD Projekt from making any expansion to the game, and additional titles under the name ‘Cyberpunk’. The reason for our registration is to protect us from unlawful actions of unfair competitors.
The trademark is not a copyright patent – these are totally different rights and they should not be confused. A registered trademark does not prohibit from using the world ‘Cyberpunk’ if it’s not used in the course of business (e.g. branding, advertising etc.), and does not refer to products that are covered by the trademark registration. It does not give any exclusivity to set a game in a certain environment, or in a certain genre.
Use of a protected word in a title may be prohibited only if it could confuse 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 the title, there is no risk that the consumers would associate these games with CD Projekt.”
The news harks back to the criticism faced by King over its pursuit of the ‘candy’ and ‘saga’ trademarks.