19 October 2018Copyright

Mario-themed karting continues despite Nintendo copyright win

It’s business as usual for a Mario Kart-inspired go-karting rental company, despite Nintendo having recently secured a copyright judgment against it.

Livedoor, a Japanese internet service provider and web platform, said that the company, MariCar, has continued “to put Nintendo’s character costume on the cart”, in a blog post dated Saturday, October 13.

As reported by WIPR, MariCar rents out go-carts in Tokyo with riders being given a character costume from Nintendo’s Mario Kart universe such as Mario, Luigi, or Princess Peach.

MariCar’s website explains: “Just imagine yourself on a custom-made go-kart specifically tailored to realise the Real Life SuperHero Go-Karting experience! Dress up in your favourite character costume, playing the music of your choice and driving through the city.”

Nintendo filed a complaint against MariCar at the Tokyo District Court in February 2017, accusing the company of copyright infringement.

The video games company said that MariCar had been renting unauthorised costumes to its customers and using Nintendo’s proprietary pictures for publicity purposes and sales. It also claimed that MariCar is an abbreviation of Mario Kart, to which Nintendo owns the rights.

Nintendo asked the court to award damages of ¥10 million ($89,000).

Last month, Nintendo confirmed that the Tokyo District Court had ordered MariCar to stop using the likeness of Mario Cart characters in its business.

Although the games company did not say whether it had been awarded damages, Livedoor reported that the court had ordered MariCar to pay the requested amount of ¥10 million.

A Nintendo-centred news site also claimed that the court had told MariCar to change its name to Mari Mobility Dev.

According to Livedoor, MariCar appealed against the Tokyo District Court’s decision the day after it was given. The ongoing appeal, issued to the IP High Court in Tokyo, reportedly allows the go-karting company to continue its disputed activities until there is a final ruling on the matter.

As such, customers dressed up as characters such as Mario “continue running on the streets in Tokyo”, Livedoor said.

MariCar customers have been pictured on the roads since the Tokyo District Court’s ruling on September 27, according to Twitter users.

For example, one person shared a photo of traffic on the road behind them which included a Mario go-karter.

Another person shared a photo of a row of MariCar go-karts in which all the drivers are dressed as characters from Nintendo’s Mario Kart.

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More on this story

1 October 2018   The Tokyo District Court has ruled in favour of Nintendo in a copyright infringement claim filed against a Mario Kart-inspired go-karting rental company.
13 November 2018   Nintendo has come to a $12.2 million settlement agreement with a couple who operated infringing video game websites.
31 May 2019   A Japanese court has found in favour of Nintendo in trademark litigation brought by the video game maker against a “Mario Kart”-inspired go-karting rental company.