Nintendo has won a ¥10 million (£68k) payout in damages over a company’s use of Mario and Mario Kart-related themes for its real life karting tours of various Japanese cities.
As reported over on Kotaku, MariCar – now MariMobility – was ordered to pay the fine after Japanese courts decided it was indeed infringing on Nintendo’s intellectual properties. The use of Mario/Nintendo costumes in the karting tours was cited as one of the main reasons behind the decision, with customers loaned Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, and other outfits of characters in the Mario Kart games.
Also, like, it was called MariCar.
Most imagery of Mario-related characters appears to have been removed from the MariCar site, though you can still see the odd Princess Peach popping up. Maybe a pink dress is seen as similar-to-but-legally-distinct-from enough to get a pass. No red and green plumbers there any more, that’s for sure.
The site does, however, include this note of caution: “MariCar is healthy recreation service that provides our customers the opportunity to ride our custom go-cart on the street. MariCar is in no way a reflection of the game 'Mario Kart'. Therefore, when riding the go-carts none of the following will be allowed. 1. No racing each other on the streets. 2. Do not throw banana peals [sic] or any other garbage on to the streets. 3. Do not throw red turtle shells or any other objects to each other.”
More details – in Japanese – can be found over on the Nintendo post about the case, which points out the company will continue to proactively defend its intellectual properties.