31 January 2020CopyrightSarah Morgan

Nintendo puts brakes on Tokyo ‘Mario Kart’ experience

Japan's highest IP court has ordered a “Mario Kart”-inspired go-kart rental company, which allows costume-wearing riders to go-kart around Tokyo, to pay a ¥50 million ($459,000) fine for infringing on Nintendo’s IP rights.

Video game company Nintendo announced its victory, which also ordered MariCar to stop its ‘unfair competition’ of renting unauthorised costumes, before the Intellectual Property High Court earlier this week.

This month’s judgment is based on the court’s interim ruling from May 2019, which found that MariCar had infringed Nintendo’s trademarks ‘Mario Kart’ and ‘Mario KART’ in the advertisement of its services.

Nintendo’s “Mario Kart” is a series of go-kart style racing video games which incorporates characters from the company’s “Super Mario” universe, such as Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach.

In May, the court also recognised that certain Nintendo characters are world-famous indications of the Nintendo brand and MariCar’s use of such characters was unlawful.

The dispute began in February 2017, when Nintendo filed suit  against MariCar at the Tokyo District Court.

At the time, Nintendo was seeking ¥10 million in damages from the company, according to Bloomberg.

In September 2018, the court ordered MariCar to stop using the likeness of “Mario Kart” characters in its business.

However, MariCar continued to offer “Mario Kart”-inspired go-karting, as reported by WIPR the following month.

In its recent announcement, Nintendo said: “We will continue to take necessary measures ... to protect our important IP, which we have built up over many years' efforts.”

MariCar, which is now called Street Kart, still plans to offer go-karting around Tokyo, however now it seems to be superhero-themed.

Its website now states: “Street Kart is in no way a reflection of Nintendo, the game 'Mario Kart'. (We do not provide rental of costumes of Mario Series.).”

Did you enjoy reading this story?  Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories like this sent straight to your inbox.

Today's top stories:

Corsearch grabs Pointer Brand Protection as sector’s M&A continues

Could Brexit force an early SkyKick clarification?

Massive spike in Super Bowl counterfeit seizures

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at

More on this story

27 February 2017   Video games maker Nintendo has decided to clean up the streets of Tokyo by suing a Mario Kart-inspired go-karting rental company.
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.
19 April 2021   Nintendo has secured an injunction against a Vietnamese Amazon seller whose devices allow users to play pirated video games on the Switch console.