The Witcher Dev Defends "Cyberpunk" Trademark Following Controversy

"We want to protect our hard work and we don't plan on using the trademark offensively."


CD Projekt Red, the developer of The Witcher series and the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, has defended its decision to trademark the word "Cyberpunk."

The company received some criticicism last week after filing for the trademark in Europe late last year. "I hope they won't be able to push that trademark, it's kind of [an] uncool move," wrote one Reddit user. "We wouldn't be able to have [the] term 'Cyberpunk' used … without a fear of being sued." The application has since been approved by the European Union.

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Now, CD Projekt Red has explained the move, claiming, "We want to protect our hard work and we don't plan on using the trademark offensively--it's a self-defence measure only.

"Cyberpunk 2077 … is a massive project and we've already invested a lot of hard work and resources into making it the best game we can," the developer continued. "We have to make sure we are the only entity that can use its exact name and naming scheme.

"Should we ever create a sequel, there's a possibility of someone telling us we can't name it, say, 'Cyberpunk 2078' or 'Cyberpunk 2.'

"The reason for our registration is to protect us from any unlawful actions of our competitors."

CD Projekt Red--which has also held a trademark for Cyberpunk in the US since 2012--went on to reassure fans that it is not trying to block people from using the word in other situations.

The company explained, "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] it also 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.

"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."

Cyberpunk 2077 was unveiled back in 2012. CD Projekt later said it wouldn't talk about the game until 2017 due to the then-upcoming release of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The studio has been quiet on the sci-fi game ever since, though CEO Marcin Iwinski did tell GameSpot in 2016 that Cyberpunk was now the company's main focus.

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