There has got to be hundreds of things to do and see in Tokyo but driving around in a go-kart dressed up as a Mario Kart figure is no longer one of them.
A court in Tokyo has ruled against Marika Co, a business offering Mario Kart themed tours for gamers who want to race around the city dressed as their favourite character. The site (which is still up) advertises a custom made go-kart specially tailored to realise the real-life superhero go-karting experience. Putting aside the sheer absurdity of that claim which was not under investigation in this case, the court found Marika Co was in breach of Nintendo’s intellectual property. Specifically Marika Co were infringing Nintendo’s copyright by using Mario Kart themed costumes, such as Peach Luigi and Yoshi without a licence. The court ordered Marika Co to stop this infringement and to pay Nintendo damages of $89,000.
Nintendo are right to protect their intellectual property by tackling this. The tours were popular and highly rated on TripAdvisor despite the $130 cost. Also although the tour was only open to tourists who held an international driving licence, there were many report of accidents with inexperienced go-karters running into pedestrians and buildings. Clearly not all gamers cope that well with Tokyo traffic. Indeed the reports of accidents is surely even more damaging to Nintendo’s reputation than the replication of the character costumes.
This is perhaps an example of where intellectual property rights have been used to get rid of one big problem. The downside. Visitors to Tokyo won’t be able to whizz round in go-karts anymore and will need to make do with a visit to Nintendo’s rather grey looking offices. Wa Ho! Let’s go!
Written by Margaret Briffa