Nintendo in Legal Battle with Real-Life Mario Karting Rental Service

posted on 2017-03-10 19:45 EST by Eric Stimson
Patent Office rejects Nintendo's claim to "MariCar"

The Shinagawa-based company MariCar lets customers get a taste of the popular Nintendo video game series Mario Kart in real life by renting go-carts, along with Mario-themed costumes, to drive along the streets of Tokyo. Nintendo is not pleased, and took legal action against MariCar despite MariCar's claim that it had an understanding with the gaming giant. However, recent developments have suggested that Nintendo has a legal battle on its hands if it wants to get the "MariCars" off the roads.

It turns out that MariCar had registered a trademark on the name "MariCar" in June 2016 for use in advertisements and events. ("MariCar" can also be romanized as "MariKar".) In September, Nintendo lodged an objection with the Patent Office over the trademark, pointing out that other video games like Pokemon and Dragon Quest used abbreviations (DraQue in Dragon Quest's case) and that the trademark could lead to "misunderstanding and "confusion" with the game. Yet the Office rejected the objection in January on the grounds that "MariCar"/"MariKar" is not a widely used abbreviation.

Nintendo is now considering requesting a trial for patent invalidation and filing a lawsuit at the Intellectual Property High Court. In the meantime, Mario Kart fans can still reenact the game on Tokyo's streets.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun; Image from Kanzen ni Shiteki na Blog

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