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Nintendo wins court battle over Mario go-karting

37 Comments
By Thomas Samson

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37 Comments
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But the court ruling looks set to bring such Nintendo-themed antics screaching to a halt.

Good, those damn carts are a serious nuisance and disaster waiting to happen with the tourists down here. They are damn impossible to see while driving.

16 ( +20 / -4 )

I used to own an ATV and drive that on the streets, far more safer than these low carts. They should upgrade.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

When I see these damn things I consider throwing a banana peel or tortoise shell at them to slow them down.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

Nintendo isn't ruthless enough. They should beat these guys at their own game. Nintendo should establish their own 'Mario Kart' go-cart company and put these guys out of business. Mari Mobility has made millions infringing on Nintendo's brand for too long.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

When I see these damn things I consider throwing a banana peel or tortoise shell at them to slow them down.

I have a few other ideas about what to throw at them, and maybe Nintendo could incorporate them into their "real" game!

I wonder how many points I would get for running one over with my dump truck!

8 ( +10 / -2 )

It could be worse. Do you know Carmaggedon?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The Nintendo court victory is one thing, but on seeing the pic, it makes you wonder where a line of speeding buses is in Tokyo when you need them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I never understood how they could just blatantly use copyrighted material for over 10 years without a word from Nintendo. Are the owners Japanese?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

They should have worked something out. Nintendo was hardly "damaged" by people having fun in Tokyo. Can't have that

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Finally these karts will be shut down. They were a menace driven by tourists who couldn't care less. Good riddance

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Good! These karts are a bloody nuisance and danger. With more tourists visiting Japan you'll find more idiots on the roads in these karts rising the risk of a collision with either another vehicle or pedestrians.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I only caught it across the room the other day, but a promo for a travel show on BBC World has the reporter sitting in one and saying "I just nearly crashed!" Aye, in a crowded city. Great.

I doubt this will shut down the karts, unless the sole appeal to them is the association with Nintendo. Anyway, its good that Nintendo are off the hook. There are lots of abuses of copyright and IP by corporates, McDonalds shutting down anyone with a McFood type name for example, but Nintendo are genuine victims here.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I didn't quite get it. So if I buy Mario costume for Halloween, should I ask Nintendo's permission to wear it? I always thought its the maker company who is in charge of obtaining legal rights to make such costumes in the first place. People who buy the costumes have full rights to use those as they please, unless they misrepresent themselves as part of Nintendo's business.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

It surprises me that Japan being so safe and strict regarding so many things has these little loopholes or glitches in the matrix as I call them...most people here, specially foreigners have to go through a painstaking, time-consuming and sometimes pricey process to obtain a license to operate any sort of motorized vehicle, yet these tourists can get here and just roam around in their little toys? I really don't get it...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

More than the trademark issue, go-karts do not belong on streets with distracted drivers of cars and trucks. I say this for their own safety. Having a go-kart track in Tokyo would be neat. Interestingly the only go-kart track I have seen in Japan in Yamanashi prefecture requires a drivers license and a helmet to drive on a closed, small track, but these Mari kart riders that I see in Tokyo do not use a helmet on the streets.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Good. Totally side with Nintendo on this. This dodgy company has been making money off using Nintendos IP without consent and if there was a deadly accident with these (very possible considering the size of these carts) then that would be some extremely bad PR for the big N.

Go to a game center and play Mario Kart VR instead.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

MariCar is unauthorized commercial use of Nintendo's creations. It has nothing to do with dressing up for Halloween.

The karts can do this because they are street legal. It could be a loophole actually intended for mobility vehicles for old dears, I couldn't tell you. I think it is one thing to allow an owner to use an unusual vehicle on the streets on the assumption that its their means of transport and they master the controls. It is another to allow people to use unusual vehicles on a one-off basis while taking selfies and treating the whole thing as a big joke.

As spektral says, its all very weird when you live here and see how strict the rules are simple things like towing something behind your car.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

spektral,

“...most people here, specially foreigners have to go through a painstaking, time-consuming and sometimes pricey process to obtain a license, yet tourists can get here and just roam around in their little toys?”

Well, not exactly. People who drive those carts need a valid Japanese driver's license, an International Driving Permit, a SOFA License for US Forces Japan, or a driver's license and official Japanese translation of it if from Switzerland, Germany, France, Taiwan, Belgium, Slovenia,or Monaco.

That said though, I believe they should be prohibited on public roads.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Bububu4

There is no way Mari Mobility has made anywhere close to millions, unless you mean yen.

I have done karting with them in Tokyo, it’s definitely not a large, upscale operation.

Brilliant fun though, I loved it and hope to do it again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

kohakuebisu

MariCar is unauthorized commercial use of Nintendo's creations. It has nothing to do with dressing up for Halloween.

I was making comparisons. Both have to do with using the 3d party made costumes-in business or private. In case the costume maker followed IP rules,does this ruling mean Nintendo can interfere when other people use similar costumes for their businesses or entertainment (including Halloween)?

The video gaming giant said the ruling blocks the MariCAR go-kart service from lending Mario and other characters' costumes to its customers.

Lending those costumes-not even changing the company name- was the only ruling NIntendo got from the case. In case the costumes were made by an authorized maker and Nintendo was getting royalties for that-they couldn't ban it.

My guess is that those were made in China costumes without proper authorization, and they broke the Japanese IP law (its prohibited to sell such stuff in Japan). Another issue is how much consumer is responsible for maker's obtaining such manufacturing rights.

Mario cart can just switch to using some other kigurumi costumes-like random animals etc. (I am not talking here about the safety of these vehicles etc)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I agree these things are a menace, but don't agree on the ruling. The name of the company is a commonly used colloquialism and not a registered trade mark name. Furthermore, if they stop people wearing suits of Nintendo characters thet have to do it right across the board. Super Mario is one of the most popular Halloween costumes, which coming up very soon. I didn't see Nintendo jumping up and down when Abe wore his Super Mario at the closing ceremony of the Brazil Olympics. This is just a case of corporate thuggery.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Shinzo didn't have this problem when he got all dressed up!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry "The Shinz"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Where I come from, the copyright violation lawsuit would have come way before the violators got this successful. The first flyer/advertisement would have instantly been nipped in the bud.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Where I come from, the copyright violation lawsuit would have come way before the violators got this successful. The first flyer/advertisement would have instantly been nipped in the bud.

Imagine if the kart companies rented costumes for people to dress up as Mickey Mouse or Darth Vader without authorization. I wouldn't give them two weeks.

fwiw, you can have your kids dress up as Disney characters at photo studios in Japan, but you have to pay extra compared to photos of your kids in kimonos. The extra money goes to Disney.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't know if Japan has a thing called "passing off" we have it here in the UK although they don't say "we are Mario super karts" but when you dress up in a similar style costumes, same colours, etc, we, the public automatically recognise who they are, its like starting your own camera company and calling it "Olympaz" or car company called "Nizzen" or a girl rock/pop band dressing up in plaid school uniforms and calling the group akg84, you get my drift here, its to similar to the original item, and you can be taken to court for it, but either way these cart are a bit of a pain TBH and I would not like to drive one through a busy Tokyo street. I would like to know what the fine is going to be, it might just Finnish of the kart co if its a hefty fine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is blatant commercial use of another company brandmark. China like behaviour.

I can't understand how they got through it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Lending those costumes-not even changing the company name- was the only ruling NIntendo got from the case.

I agree it is a little strange. What happens now if a store renting Mario style costumes opens up right next to the kart operation? Presumably the kart customers can wear what they like.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It’s a bend of trademark regulations. As stated above, “MariCar” is a colloquialism and not a trademarked name. Wearing Mario character costumes is not a breech of copyright. If it was, half of the participants in the Shibuya Halloween festivities would be breaking the same law. Even if the company was renting the suits to the drivers it is still not a breech. If this were so, nearly every costume rental company in japan would be in breech of this copyright. I fail to see how Nintendo can sue for damages when the breech of copyright and trademarks is so vague.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Educator60

Thanks for the piece of information...I was already quite perplexed by the lack of logic...

quite a lot of preparations are needed I see...

but still, it doesn't seem very safe to allow them to go around on public roads anywhere they want...I wonder what other restrictions there are...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It’s a bend of trademark regulations. As stated above, “MariCar” is a colloquialism and not a trademarked name. Wearing Mario character costumes is not a breech of copyright. If it was, half of the participants in the Shibuya Halloween festivities would be breaking the same law. Even if the company was renting the suits to the drivers it is still not a breech. If this were so, nearly every costume rental company in japan would be in breech of this copyright. I fail to see how Nintendo can sue for damages when the breech of copyright and trademarks is so vague.

Plus, looking at the photos on the website, not all of the costumes are actually related to Nintendo; the other ones are mainly Minions (Universal) or Pooh, Goofy, etc (Disney)., or others. Although I agree that the kart themselves are nuisance for cars or pedestrians.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yeah, Japan loves it "gray area".

It doesn't seem like they are violating any copyright laws just Nintendo putting pressure on the government. If MariCar wants to be stubbering like someone mentioned then they can separate the process of acquiring the costumes and offer a variety of characters from Japanese anime, video games and Disney. The company can make an analogy to pachinko. They have been skirting the gambling laws for years and everyone knows about it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

stubborn not stubbering

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Change the costumes and name the company after a family member called Mari, or Marika (my other half's name) and Nintendo have nothing to go on. I laugh at the fact they think it sours their name - personally I was more interested in Mario Kart because of this company than I ever was before it.

I do agree though that these carts need stricter regulating!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

spektralSep. 28  04:41 pm JST

“Thanks for the piece of information...I was already quite perplexed by the lack of logic...”

You’re welcome. It’s simple, you need a license, the tourists need one too, generally an international drivers license. The information is on the company’s web site.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Very cool! I am so glad Nintendo sued them so an international article was written about them. Myself and others would have no idea this fun thing is an option in Japan. Thanks Nintendo! Now there business is just going to double in size with the free publicity. I agree its stupid dangerous with vehicles so low to the ground on busy streets of Japan.....but being a Karting enthusiast I am so envious of the flexibility of being able to not get harrased by Police for driving around (a safer area that busy Tokyo) on the streets.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They'll just change the costumes/name a bit to match Japan. Maybe Samurai wear, kitty chan, or some Manga themes .... "Girls und "..."Kart" ? Or even simply split the cart operation from the costume one, and keep rotating the company renting out the costumes. There's always a way around this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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