CD Projekt, the developer of The Witcher series and the long-awaited Cyberpunk 2077 game, has received backlash over its trademark of the term "cyberpunk". Fans are voicing out their concerns that the term used to describe a subgenre of science fiction could find itself slapped with some lawsuits in the near future. However, CD Projekt wants to assure fans that they're not planning to hold a tight grip on their trademark, and that they're only going to use it to protect their own upcoming project.
As the developer explained on Twitter:
"We want to protect our hard work and we don't plan on using the trademark offensively—it's a self-defence measure only."
The concern among fans isn't exactly without merit. Creators have used cyberpunk dystopian and themes to develop their project across a wide range of media. Of course, they would be concerned about the possibility of the developer enforcing their use of the term "cyberpunk" if they used it to label their title.
A few years ago, Tim Langdell tried to enforce a copyright of "ege" against games like EA's Mirror's Edge, which resulted in his trademark being rejected and the internet rejoicing. Just recently, Candy Crush developer/publisher King went on to attack the mention of any game using a sweet confectionary title, and they have lawyers on making sure that the word "SUPER" belongs to the company.
However, CD Projekt Red doesn't seem to be the typical corportate antagonist of cyberpunk dystopia. "If someone names their game: ‘John Smith: Adventures Set 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," CDPR explains.
Trademarking the term "cyberpunk" seems fair for the developer, and as they clarified in their tweet, a trademark is not a copyright or a patent so it would not restrict creators from using the term "cyberpunk", it just helps protect their franchise from being ruined. For instance, if someone makes a game with the title Cyberpunk 2078 just to cash in on the project's momentum.
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