MariCar Go-Kart Company Ordered to Pay 50 Million Yen to Nintendo For Intellectual Property Damages
posted on by Kim Morrissy
The Intellectual Property High Court released the full text of its interim judgement regarding the Nintendo vs Mari Mobility Development (formerly MariCar) legal dispute. The court ruled in favor of Nintendo, and ordered Mari Mobility Development to pay 50 million yen (US$466,000) to Nintendo. This is a raise from 10 million yen, which the Tokyo District Court had ordered Mari Mobility Development to pay in its verdict in 2017.
The 130-page document also tells Mari Mobility Development to cease its use of Nintendo's logo and to remove it from their business operations, advertising materials, and carts. The go-kart rental company was also told to unregister the "MariCar" domain name.
Nintendo argued in court that the term "MariKar" is well known as a reference to its racing game Mario Kart, that MariCar did not have permission to use Mario character costumes commercially, nor did it have permission to use footage and photos from Nintendo's games for publicity purposes.
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.
Oral proceedings for the lawsuit began in April 2017. At the time, Nintendo was seeking damages of 10,000,000 yen (nearly US$89,000). Mari Mobility Development initially argued that it was not responsible for its customer's use of costumes and go-karts since they were provided by a third party that Mari Mobility Development maintains a relationship with and that Mari Mobility Development was only furnishing and maintaining the go-karts.
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.