Nintendo Wins Lawsuit Against Tokyo's Real-Life Mario Kart Tour Company

Mario Kart
(Image credit: Nintendo)

One of the best ways to make a lot of easy cash is to use a popular brand name, or pop-culture iconography. Want to sell a lot of pizzas? Start up a business called Pizza Shack with a different colored logo than Pizza Hut. Want to attempt to fool people into seeing a kung-fu flick starring a famous martial artist? Hire in a guy named Bruce Li and attempt to pass him off as Bruce Lee. And if you run a real-life go-karting business you could very easily make bank mirroring the business on Nintendo's popular Mario Kart franchise... or at least that's what one company thought they could do until the long arm of the law caught up with them. Nintendo caught wind of the outfit named MariCar, a go-kart touring company in Tokyo, Japan. Nintendo decided to sue the company for intellectual property violation and for damaging the Mario Kart brand, since the outfit was offering tours themed around the Super Mario characters without permission from Nintendo.

Kotaku is reporting that Nintendo originally filed the suit against MariCar, also known as MariMobility, back in early 2017. The suit managed to go through in Nintendo's favor, where the Tokyo District Court ordered MariMobility to pay out ¥10 million in compensation, which rounds out to close to $90,000 in USD. The go-karting company was also forced to stop using the Nintendo branding for their services, which might have confused people with the actual mobile version of Mario Kart Tour.

For those of you not in the know, MariCar runs a go-karting touring service in Tokyo, Japan. The company managed to make quite the name for themselves by allowing tourists to cosplay and ride around in Tokyo on go-karts.

As noted by Kotaku, the company first made headlines for offering tourists the ability to drive around Tokyo in go-karts, but later the company gained notoriety when some of the tourists crashed and several accidents were reported. Further headlines have been made recently due to the lawsuit from Nintendo.

If you visit the official MariCar website, the logo itself is completely different from anything under Nintendo's branding labels, but you may notice that some of the costumes for cosplaying still feature various Nintendo characters, such as Luigi and Toad.

The main [age on the site, however, only features other images and cosplay characters, and the description now promotes the service as offering superhero-themed cosplays instead of Nintendo-themed cosplays.

You will need a valid driver license in order to participate in the tour, and it costs around $100 to take a standard tour in the go-karts around Akihabara shop.

If you take a look at some of the images in the touring section and pricing, you'll note that there's still an image of a guy dressed up as Mario from Mario Kart.

Nintendo says it will continue to take measures to protect its intellectual property from misuse, and I imagine if MariCar doesn't completely scrub any traces of Mario and the rest of the gang from its services then the Big 'N' could be knocking at their door... again.

The go-karting service is still in operation and still offering tours around Tokyo, Japan.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.