Cyberpunk Namer Wishes CD Projekt Red Would Contact Him Over Trademark

Cyberpunk Namer Wishes CD Projekt Red Would Contact Him Over Trademark

Bruce Bethke coined the term 'cyberpunk' before you were born. Unless you're old like me.

Last week, CD Projekt Red addressed concerns that its trademark on 'cyberpunk' would lead to creators in the genre being unable to use the term. Despite that, the legal situation isn't making everyone happy. Bruce Bethke coined the term back in 1980, as the title and focus of a short story he wrote. Bethke has seen attempts on the trademark come and go and he remains skeptical of CD Projekt Red's claim on the term.

"My understanding of American trademark law is that trademark depends on context," Bethke told World Trademark Review, which is a real site all about trademark news. "[So] 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. 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, like a number of other folks out there, still has a few concerns about CD Projekt Red's use of the trademark. He's still a working author, so he'd like for the term to be free to use in other creations outside of CDPR's watchful eye.

"I do rather wish someone from CD Projekt Red would contact me, though, to clarify a few of my concerns," he said. "Most of all, I wish people all over the internet would pay a tiny percentage of their attention to what I'm doing now, as opposed to something I did 37 years ago. I really wish that just once, someone would offer me an enormous fucking pile of money to lay hands upon them and pronounce them the one true purveyor of cyberpunk."

Bethke has previously said that he wishes he had "bloody well trademarked the damned thing" himself way back when he first coined the term.

Cyberpunk 2077 currently has no release date or window. Perhaps it's never coming out. All is sadness and despair.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

Related articles

Rainbow Six Siege Coming to PS5, Xbox Series X on Day One

"Our target is to be available right at launch."

Report: Coronavirus Could Cause Switch Shortages in the US as Early as April

Shipments bound for the US later this month could be affected.

Early Bidding War for the Nintendo PlayStation Has Pushed the Price Up to $350,000

Oculus' founder Palmer Luckey is one of the deep-pocketed bidders.

Respawn Considered Delaying Jedi: Fallen Order to Smooth out Its Rampant Bugs

"It was a conversation that we had and we decided that we wanted the game out there, we wanted to get it, you know, being out for the holiday," says CEO Vince Zampella.

You may also like

Axe of the Blood God: The Dreamcast Console RPG Quest

The Console RPG Quest takes on one of the most beloved consoles ever. Plus, Fire Emblem: Three Houses DLC discussion!

What Video Game Romances Should Have Remained Friendships?

COMMUNITY QUESTION | On Valentine's Day, we want to hear who you don't ship.