Tokyo is home to attractions that allow tourists to live out their video game and anime dreams. You can visit a Detective Conan real escape game, eat at a Monster Hunter café, and spend the night at a Pretty Cure hotel room.
In recent years, one of the more iconic attractions is MariCar. You may have seen videos on social media showcasing Super Mario cosplayer racing through the bustling streets in go-karts. MariCar rents out the vehicles and costumes, which can be eye-grabbing when you see a dozen cosplayers racing down the street.
But, MariCar has incurred the wrath of Nintendo. The video game developer took legal action, claiming that MariCar’s activities “constitute copyright infringement and damages the Mario Kart brand.”
Turns out, the Tokyo District Court agreed with Nintendo’s argument. As a result, MariCar is barred from renting out Mario costumes and they must pay Nintendo an undisclosed fee for infringing their copyright.
Nintendo issued a statement after the court’s decision, “We intend to continue taking necessary measures to protect our company’s intellectual properties and brands, which were built up through many years of hard work, from actions that would damage them.”
This may seem draconian, but Nintendo’s fears aren’t too unfounded. Many of MariCar’s customers are foreign tourists and they may misinterpret it as an official Nintendo entity.
— FashionExpress (@ClubFshionNews) September 28, 2018
It doesn’t help that there has been a pair of high profile accidents have happened this — a foreign driver struck a Japanese bicyclist in a hit-and-run accident and another driver crashed into a building in Roppongi.
However, the good news is that MariCar can still operate and rent out go-karts to tourists. It just won’t have the Mario schtick anymore.