Super popular street go-karting company MariCar has been ordered to pay 50 million yen in damages to the well-known video game franchise Nintendo and has also been commanded to change its name and branding.

The order comes after a lawsuit was filed by Nintendo against Mari Mobility Development Inc. for copyright infringements in 2017. The original lawsuit was filed in Tokyo’s First District Court, and was won by Nintendo. The initial payment to be made in damages was 10 million yen, but with both parties unhappy with the judges decision, they filed further appeals and Nintendo increased the amount from 10 million yen to 50 million yen.

It was ruled on the 29th of January by Japan’s Intellectual Property High court that Mari Mobility Development Inc. actions have “infringed upon Nintendo’s operating profits” and must pay the charge to Nintendo.

In addition to paying the fine to Nintendo, MariCar has been instructed by the High Court to cease and desist with renting costumes resembling Nintendo characters to their customers. Due to numerous accidents which have involved MariCar, including when a Mari Kart mounted the pavement in a serious road accident in 2018, the company has also been ordered to add seatbelts and to make it mandatory to wear helmets starting from 2020.

Despite the hardships, the go-karting company, which many feared would sadly come to an end, has decided to continue operating and will be rebranding as Street Kart.

The new company website contains a statement that assures viewers and potential customers that they have no relationship and association with Nintendo and Mario Kart, that customers can continue to rent costumes from them, but there will be no Nintendo Characters. The statement, which appears in a center box when opening up the Street Kart website reads, “Street Kart is in no way a reflection of Nintendo, the game 'Mario Kart'.(We do not provide rental of costumes of Mario Series.)” The company has also updated their go-karts with new stickers that dissociate the tour with Nintendo. Stickers, visible from every angle read “Unrelated to Nintendo” and appear on the kart no less than 15 times. Some are calling the stickers ironic as it is now impossible to look at the karts without thinking about Mario Kart.

Nintendo states that it will “continue to protect its brand and and intellectual property” | © PR Times, Inc.

What is Street Kart?

With seven branches in Tokyo and additional branches in Kyoto, Osaka, Kanagawa, and Okinawa, Street Kart is a large operation which attracts thousands of tourists every year.

Street Kart is a tour guide company that takes its passengers on a route through Tokyo whilst driving a go-kart. By racing through the city on a go-kart customers have the enjoyment of seeing the city in a completely different perspective than most visitors.

Customers can also enjoy the add ons of a 4K action camera which will film the entire group racing around Tokyo, Bluetooth speakers allowing the rider to make the ride more personal by adding their favourite music and of course, the costume rental which makes the experience all the more enjoyable.

In order to enjoy a Street Kart tour in Tokyo, customers need to have either a Japanese Driving Licence or an international driver’s license issued by a signatory to the 1949 Geneva Convention. Customers from Switzerland, Germany, France, Taiwan, Belgium, Estonia, or Monaco can bring their licence along with and authorized Japanese translation.

By - Connie Sceaphierde.