If you've ever been to Tokyo before, chances are you've seen a group of people driving go-karts around the streets while wearing costumes straight out of Mario Kart and the Super Mario series. Called MariCar, it is actually a very popular tourist attraction with numerous people lining up to get the chance to ride one around the city. I mean, who wouldn't want to live out their Mario Kart dreams in real life?
However, the possibility of living out Mario Kart in Japan could soon disappear. Nintendo recently filed and won a lawsuit with Japan's Intellectual Property High Court calling for the cease and desist of character costume rentals from MariCar. Attorney general Mori Yoshiyuki issued an interim judgment. In particular, Nintendo wants to stop the company from lending out costumes related to the Mario Kart videogame and other Nintendo characters.
This wouldn't be the first time Nintendo won a lawsuit against the same company for infringement of intellectual property rights. Back in 2018, the video game company already filed a lawsuit against the company for the same reason, which led to the company to rename from MariCar to Mari Mobility. However, the company appealed against the order of requiring them to pay compensation of up to JPY 10 million.
Nintendo does not really have any problem with the go-kart business itself as the karts are street-legal, registered, and fitted with a license plate. Instead, it is the branding and costume rentals of Mari Mobility related to the Mario Series which became an issue.
“We will continue to take necessary measures against infringements of intellectual property including our brand in order to protect our valuable intellectual property that we have built up over the years,” says Nintendo in a press release.
So if you haven't tried driving a go-kart while wearing a Mario costume in Japan, you might be out of luck. It appears the company has rebranded to the name Street Kart Shibuya, dropping their original MariCar name for good. Based on their website, the company says that "Street Kart is in no way a reflection of Nintendo, the game Mario Kart". They also add that they do not provide rental costumes of characters from the Mario Series.