Posted on September 29 2018 by Alexis Anderson
News broke this week of Nintendo’s victory in a lawsuit against Osaka based go-kart company, Mari Mobility Development Co (or MariCar). The company, popular with tourists, provides a range of costumes for patrons to wear while they ride MariCar go-karts around the city. Some of the costumes were of unlicensed Mario characters, giving riders a true Mario Kart experience. But now, MariCar must cease from using “Nintendo-related” outfits and pay Nintendo 10 million yen (about $88,000 USD) in damages.
This lawsuit, filed in February of 2017, was an effort for Nintendo to “protect the company’s ‘valued intellectual property’ that it ‘built up over many years of effort,’” according to IGN. Nintendo was first and foremost concerned with the fact that MariCar was using its characters without permission, and the New York Times reports that MariCar had not responded appropriately to previous warnings from Nintendo. The gaming giant also felt that MariCar was damaging the Mario brand; this may be due in part to the fact that MariCar go-karts have been involved in a number of accidents in Osaka.
Pictures of riders wearing Mario costumes have been removed from MariCar’s website, save for one where a man is wearing a Bowser hat. Its Facebook page does still have pictures of the costumes in use, though.
This lawsuit shouldn’t surprise longtime Nintendo fans who know the company holds to its IPs like a vice, but it has caused some controversy about whether it goes too far. This is not a ban on (licensed) Mario costumes nor on fans wearing them, it just stops a single company from profiting off of unlicensed Nintendo costumes without permission. But it could mean real trouble for the lauded go-kart experience, with such a heavy fine and one of its most appealing features being stripped away.
What do you think about the outcome of this lawsuit? Do you think Nintendo is in the right? Let us know in the comments!