Nintendo Wins “Mario Kart” Infringement Suit, Mari Mobility Owes $450k

When it comes to real-life Mario Kart, only Nintendo has that authority. A Japanese court ordered go-kart company Mari Mobility to pay over $450,000 for infringing on the video game company’s intellectual property, according to a report in Inside via Kotaku. The company offered Nintendo-themed costumes for drivers to wear.

"Mario Kart Tour" Nintendo
Credit: Nintendo

Nintendo vs Mari Mobility

In an attempt to avoid confusion or conflict, Mari Mobility labeled its karts with “Unrelated to Nintendo.” The company rebranded its service as “Street Kart” and providing superhero-themed outfits. The kart company provides the following disclaimer on its website:

We at Street Kart is providing our service as usual. Street Kart is fully complied [SIC] through local governing laws in Japan. Street Kart is in no way a reflection of Nintendo, the game ‘Mario Kart’. (We do not provide rental of costumes of Mario Series.)

The kart racing service became popular with tourists. Tourists had accidents crashing the karts. In the original lawsuit, the court awarded Nintendo 10 million yen ($92,000). Following Mari Mobility’s unsuccessful appeal, the court increased the amount to 50 million yen ($458,000).

In the official statement, Nintendo said it would continue to take steps against violation of the intellectual property and brands it has worked hard to establish over many years.

While go-karting is a popular activity globally, it’s naïve for a company to purposely engage in brand confusion. Aside from the lack of permission and the egregious marketing tactics, the game giant didn’t sign off on any of it. Any assumed association especially when it comes to safety reflects on the company. So it makes sense the Big N used the blue shell to put an end to this nonsense.

As far as legit Mario Kart-ing, one could go to Japan and visit Super Nintendo World or come to Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios theme park. If you can’t wait for the Orlando part to open in 2023, then the Japanese park opens in summer 2020.

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