David Blecken
Mar 13, 2017

Nintendo loses suit: 'MariCar' go-kart operator survives

Surprise ruling is a reminder that big brands don't always get their way.

Source: Still from YouTube video by user 'Kolton'
Source: Still from YouTube video by user 'Kolton'

Nintendo has been unsuccessful in its bid to sue MariCar, a novelty go-kart operator based in Tokyo, according to reports.

The creator of Mario Bros announced its intention to sue MariCar for copyright infringement on 24 February. MariCar is a popular tourist attraction that offers the chance to zoom around Tokyo dressed as Mario or Luigi (and a host of other, non-Nintendo-related, characters).

The Japan Patent Office has since dismissed Nintendo’s suit on the grounds that the name ‘MariCar’ is not a known abbreviation of ‘Mario Kart’. Imaginative abbreviations are common in Japan, among the best known being ‘Pokemon’ for ‘Pocket Monsters’.

The decision will come as a surprise to many, who expected an easy victory for Nintendo given Japan’s robust laws around copyright. In its statement, Nintendo criticised MariCar for exploiting brand equity built up over many years.

Campaign Japan

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