Nintendo have won a lawsuit against Japanese street go-karting company MariCar, due to them using Super Mario costumes and their name.
In 2017, SoraNews24 reported Nintendo begun a lawsuit against MariCar. The service lets locals and tourists drive around the streets of major Japanese cities in a go-kart; all while dressed in costumes nigh-identical to those of Super Mario costumes.
As seen in videos on YouTube [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], other costumes based on cartoon, anime, and video game characters are available. Drivers need a valid drivers licence, however due to the revelry causing little attention on the road (and foreign tourists not fully grasping the local laws and streets) there have been several accidents [1, 2].
As SoraNews24 state, high-profile traffic accidents featuring Nintendo characters could cause bad PR for Nintendo. At some point, the karts had a sign reading “UNRELATED TO NINTENDO” added to them.
In September 2018, SoraNews24 reported that Nintendo won the initial part of the lawsuit against MariCar, giving an injunction to the company barring them from using Nintendo-based costumes, and would pay Nintendo and undisclosed amount. It would later be revealed that MariCar appealed the ruling.
The disclaimer signs ramped up, appearing on every side and surface possible by 2019. However, several of the above YouTube videos were uploaded after that date, and still feature the Nintendo costumes.
Now, Nintendo of Japan have announced (translation: DeepL) Japanese courts have fully ruled in Nintendo’s favor, and rejected MariCar’s appeal. MariCar pay ¥50 million JPY in damages (approx. $475.5 thousand USD). Nintendo are also seeking invalidation trials over MariCar’s name infringing on Mario Kart.
MariCar has now seemingly rebranded as Street Kart. As of this time of writing, the official website features the disclaimer pop-up “Street Kart is in no way a reflection of Nintendo, the game ‘Mario Kart’.(We do not provide rental of costumes of Mario Series.)” Images of the karts on the website have the old logo blurred out.
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