Early in 2017, Nintendo announced that it was suing a Japanese company that had begun hosting real-life Mario Kart races around Tokyo – complete with fake moustaches and very familiar costumes – for intellectual property infringement. The court has now ruled in Nintendo’s favour.
The company on the receiving end of Nintendo’s full legal force was MariCar, which organised costumed kart experiences featuring the likes of (somewhat ragged-looking) Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, and Peach. “Extremely exciting and a must have experience when you visit Tokyo Japan,” the MariCar website enthuses, “Just imagine yourself on a custom made go kart specifically tailored to realize the Real Life SuperHero Go-Karting experience!”
In a statement released last February, Nintendo outlined the key arguments of its lawsuit: namely that it has already declared the mark MariKa as an abbreviation of Mario Kart (to which MariCar was presumably deemed uncomfortably close), and that the defendant was using costumes of Nintendo’s characters for publicity and sales without obtaining permission.
“We insist that such an act falls under unfair competition and copyright infringement acts against us”, Nintendo’s statement read.
Now, as reported by Wall Street Journal tech reporter Takashi Mochizuki, the Tokyo District Court has ordered Mari Mobility Dev (as MariCar is now known), to pay Nintendo ¥10 million (around £67,448) in compensation and cease its use of Nintendo-related outfits.