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Nintendo Lawsuit Stops Real-World Mario Kart Company in Its Tracks

Watch out Waluigi—the days of go karters ripping up the streets of Tokyo dressed up like a Super Mario character are over, after Nintendo won its copyright infringement lawsuit against Marika Co., a company that provides a real-world Mario Kart experience, Thursday in a Tokyo court.

Titles like Mario Kart have inspired players to take to the streets dressed as their favorite characters for years. And while that might be fair game for fans at Comic-Con, Nintendo filed legal motions against a Marika, which enabled Mario Kart fans to dress up as Mario, Peach, and Luigi and ride around on Tokyo’s crowded streets.

According to Nintendo’s defense of its lawsuit, when Marika rented carts to customers, they also provided a costume of a Nintendo character, such as Mario, Luigi, or Princess Peach. Combining that with photos or videos taken of the drivers in costume that were used for advertisements without obtaining Nintendo’s permission, spelled copyright infringement, the game company said. Nintendo also pointed out that Marika was an obvious abbreviation of Mario Kart. The Japanese court in Tokyo agreed, telling Marika “to stop unfair competition” of its cosplay events, so that Nintendo can protect its intellectual property.

Though it may seem a case of King Koopa stomping on Toad, Nintendo has long been litigious when it comes to protecting its copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property. One of the thing that makes the company so valuable is its characters, which it rarely licenses out to third-party initiatives. For instance, more than 500,000 games entered Apple’s iOS Appstore before Nintendo tried the waters, releasing Mario Run in 2016.