Maricar Ordered to Pay Nintendo $460,000 in Japan Over Its Maricar Go-Karts


Maricar has been ordered to pay Nintendo 50 million yen ($460,000) by the Japanese Intellectual Property High Court in the final judgement from earlier today. The original ruling of 10 million yen was made in September 2018 and increased by 500% in June 2019 upon appeal.

Maricar (which now operates as Mari Mobility Development Inc.) was ruled as infringing the intellectual property of Nintendo and using Nintendo characters to promote their street go-karting business and with the company’s name a play on the word “Marika”, which us often used as an abbreviated term for Mario Kart by fans in Japan. Further antagonisms included formerly referring to themselves as “Real-life Mario Kart“, plus trademark applications for “Maricar Tour” and more recently “Unrelated to Nintendo”.

Mari Mobility Development President Yamazaki Yusuke responded to the ruling and stated that “It is truly regrettable that our company’s assertion was not recognized, and we will continue to deal with careful examinations of the contents.”

Nintendo sent out a press release, which has been translated for Siliconera by BlacKite.

About judgement from IP High Court (final judgement) regarding act of using our company’s intellectual property by a public road kart rental service

Regarding the appeal trial (Heisei 30 (Ne) No. 10081) of the lawsuit (Heisei 29 (Wa) No. 6293) filed on 24 February, 2017 by Nintendo Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Minami-ku, Kyoto; Representative director president: Furukawa Shuntaro; hereafter “our company”) against Maricar Inc. (Current name: Mari Mobility Development Inc.; Head office: Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo; hereafter “defendant company”) and its representative director (hereafter collectively “defendants”), we hereby inform that the Intellectual Property High Court has today handed down a judgement (final judgement).

As already informed previously, in the interim judgement for this lawsuit handed down by the Intellectual Property High Court on 30 May 2019, the acts of the defendant company such as using displays like “Maricar” [in alphabet and katakana] for business and lending costumes of Mario and other characters are acknowledged as Unfair Competition Acts. In this judgement, based on the decision from the interim judgement, the defendants are ordered to pay 50 million yen for damage reparations (the full amount of money demanded by our company in this lawsuit as part of damages caused by said unfair competition acts), and the defendant company is also ordered to stop these unfair competition acts among others. In order to safeguard our company’s important intellectual property that we have built up with our effort for many years, our company will still continue to take necessary measures against infringement acts on intellectual properties including our company’s brands.

This Maricar judgement marks the third successful ruling in Nintendo’s favor as of late, considering the Wii Remote tracking technology overturning and the Nintendo eShop preorder cancellation case.

Brian Cooper
Owner of the Japanese Nintendo blog and a gamer since the 1980s with the ZX Spectrum 48k+.