As of a couple of days ago, it was announced that Nintendo officially won their lawsuit against the go-cart service, MariCar in Japan. MariCar has now been ordered to pay Nintendo ¥50 million due to infringement of intellectual property since MariCar unlawfully used Nintendo’s iconic characters.
— Nintendo Everything (@NinEverything) December 28, 2020
MariCar is a popular go-cart service company in Tokyo, Japan where tourists can dress up as their favorite Mario Kart characters and drive a themed go-cart around the streets of Toyko. There have been previous complaints about the high rate of accidents and the inherent danger of both the go-cart drivers as well as the cars they are sharing the road with. Many locals are fed up with these go-carts. However, that was not the main complaint of the lawsuit since Nintendo was mainly focusing on the usage of their iconic characters without their permission.
We will continue to take necessary measures against infringement of intellectual property including our brand in order to protect our important intellectual property that we have built up through many years of efforts
This legal battle started way back in February of 2017 and finally concluded on December 24 of 2020. The Japanese Supreme Court ruled in favor of Nintendo and argued that MariCar was using Nintendo’s characters and intellectual property without Nintendo’s permission. This lawsuit also includes the 2018 follow-up addressing the themed costumes that participants would wear. While the case was initially decided back on January 29th of 2020, MariCar asked for an appeal on the “unfair conjunctions.” However, the appeal was denied and MariCar is asked to pay Nintendo the full ¥50 million. The decision ultimately came to the fact that by MariCar using Nintendo’s popular characters, they were “unfairly utilizing the high customer attraction of the famous product labeling.”
The full court document and legal proceedings can be found here.