Nintendo Wins Lawsuit Against Mario Kart-Inspired Tourist Attraction

MariCar
MariCar, also known as Mari Mobility Development Co., will have to pay the Japanese consumer electronics company 10 million yen, the equivalent of approximately $89,000. MariCar/Facebook

A Mario Kart-inspired street racing attraction in Japan can no longer use the likeness of Nintendo's popular video game characters, a court ruled this week.

MariCar, also known as Mari Mobility Development Co., will have to pay the Japanese consumer electronics company 10 million yen, the equivalent of approximately $89,000, for dressing its customers in costumes resembling popular characters, including Mario, Luigi and Toad.

Tokyo District Court ruled that the company—which hires out custom-made carts that tourists can use to ride around various city locations—had infringed on Nintendo's copyright.

The lawsuit was filed on February 24, 2017, according to gaming website Kotaku. In an official statement at the time, Nintendo said it took issue with the Mario Kart costumes being offered. It also spoke out against pictures and videos featuring them being used for promotion.

Reacting to the new court ruling on Thursday, Nintendo said (translated via Google): "In order to protect our valued intellectual property that we have built up over many years of effort, we will continue to take necessary measures against infringement of intellectual property."

MariCar representatives said they were now reviewing the decision, Polygon reported.

In May last year, MariCar gained significant attention after its carts were highlighted online by Australian actor Hugh Jackman. The venture has mostly positive reviews on TripAdvisor—with many customers praising its cartoony costumes. The English-language website remains online, but now lacks images of the Mario Kart characters. Images of them still exist on Facebook.

We're here waiting for the green light and ohhhhh ..... #mariokart #supermariobros pic.twitter.com/zyI2eHv9rp

— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) May 24, 2017

"Thank you for your continuing support," reads a statement posted to the website. "MariCar is providing our service as usual. MariCar is fully complied through local governing laws in Japan."

Further down, it stresses the firm "is in no way a reflection of the game 'Mario Kart.'" It advises against throwing banana peels or turtle shells on to the streets, two popular moves in the game.

While the Mario Kart costumes are gone from the website front page, the company still appears to be using the likenesses of other pop culture characters, including Superman and Spiderman.