Cyberpunk 'Legend' Reacts to CD Projekt Red's 'Cyberpunk 2077' Trademark

By Jazz Rosin / 2017.04.19

CD Projekt Red's 'cyberpunk' trademark for its upcoming game "Cyberpunk 2077" has stirred controversy earlier this month. The studio has already explained their side, but another person has expressed his concern about the issue – no other than the "cyberpunk legend" himself, Bruce Bethke.

Bethke, who famously penned the short story "Cyberpunk" in 1983, has expressed concerns regarding CD Projekt Red's recent trademark for the word "cyberpunk. Speaking to World Trademark Review, the science fiction author shared his thoughts about the matter.

"While you can trademark a logotype or a unique variation – eg, as I recall, R. Talsorian Games' trademark was specifically for a role-playing game named ‘Cyberpunk 2020’ – you can't just trademark a word for all purposes everywhere," Bethke said. "Hence when some company back in the 1980s tried to claim a trademark on the word ‘cyberpunk’ because they were publishing a Cyberpunk comic book, well, tough – it didn't hold up."

Bethke then called out CD Projekt Red to speak to him to clarify some of his concerns about the issue.

Bethke also expressed his frustration towards people who still expect him to guard the "cyberpunk" term despite the short story being made more than 30 years ago.

In a statement released by CD Projekt Red on Twitter, the Polish studio clarified that the "cyberpunk" trademark is definitely not a copyright, and does not imply that the studio now owns full rights to the actual genre or setting. The word "cyberpunk" can still be used as a descriptive term, contrary to what people have initially believed.

"We wish to protect our hard work and we don't plan on using the trademark offensively," the studio said.

CD Projekt Red's other game "The Witcher 3" has raised the bar when it comes to RPG's, and people have really high expectations for "Cyberpunk 2077." While there is still no official word, there are speculations that the game may come out during the first half of 2019, based on the developer's goverment funding application.

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