It seems that CD Projekt, the owner of the Witcher video game franchise and the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, wants to trademark the term “cyberpunk”. A Reddit user shared a screenshot of the trademark application dated on November 3, 2016 as well as an interesting comment reportedly made by Bruce Bethke, an American author who coined the term. Assuming the remark is authentic, he has confirmed that every few years there is someone trying to trademark the word “cyberpunk”, but these attempts always fail due to a large number of titles using it.
A search in Markify confirms that CD Projekt did apply for the trademark. As much as we respect the company behind The Witcher series and their commendable DLC policy, this is an uncool thing to do. It brings to mind such ridiculous situations as when Candy Crush Saga publisher King tried to prevent The Banner Saga creators from using the word “saga” in their game’s title. Or when The Fine Bros wanted to trademark the word “react” (imagine what that would mean for all the “Reaction videos” on YouTube). Is securing a trademark like that really worth the risk of harming one’s PR?