MariCar Go-Kart Company Throws a Petty Shell at Nintendo
posted on by Lynzee Loveridge
Last year the Tokyo courts ruled in favor of Nintendo in its legal battle against the Shinagawa-based company Mari Mobility Development (formerly MariCar). The go-kart company is no longer be able to lend its customers Mario franchise-themed costumes to race around Japan's streets. But MariCar decided to make it extra obvious that its business is unrelated to Nintendo: by copy-writing the phrase "Unrelated to Nintendo" ("Nintendō wa Mukankei").
According to the Japanese Trademark Bot account, MariCar filed the trademark via the Intellectual Property Defense Corporation on November 29, 2018 for use on its go-karts.
An image circulating on Twitter shows the go-karts are already decked out with its newly trademarked phrase.
Jokesters are already taking inspiration from the karts to recreate them in Mario Kart.
Nintendo first issued a press release regarding the dispute in February 2017. MariCar stated that it had an agreement with Nintendo that allowed its service to operate. However, Nintendo lodged an objection with Japan's Patent Office over MariCar trademarking its name in September 2016. The Office rejected the objection in January 2017 on the grounds that "MariCar"/"MariKar" is not a widely used abbreviation. Regardless, MariCar changed its name to Mari Mobility Development.
Mari Mobility Development let visitors go careening through the streets of Tokyo through famous districts like Akihabara, Shibuya, and Harajuku. It was an especially popular service with foreigners, who made up about 90% of its clientele and only needed an international driver's license to participate.