Nintendo Hits “Real-Life Mario Kart” Company with Copyright Infringement Suit

It looks like the Big N may be tossing one massive Blue Shell at one of the companies behind those real-life Mario Karters you might have seen around Tokyo.

They’ve been showing up on Instagram and Facebook feeds for months now, sporting Mario, Peach, and Yoshi costumes. They’ve been adding a bit of whimsy to the streets of Tokyo, and bringing a smile to the faces of people on the sidewalks as they zoom past. But thanks to just how much those Karters look like the characters in the hit video game, the “real-life Mario Kart” phenomenon may be coming to an end.

We wrote about MariCar, perhaps the most popular of the companies that organize real-life Mario Kart races around the city, last year. (And from what writer Tamatha Roman experienced, it sounds like a blast.) Nintendo, however, hasn’t been pleased with the institution, and on Friday filed a suit against the karting company. In the suit, the Kyoto-based firm says that MariCar has been renting unlicensed versions of the Nintendo characters to customers and “using pictures of them to promote its business.” It also says that the company name bears far too close of a resemblance to the trademarked name of Mario Kart.

Will this be the end of the road for real-life Mario Kart in Tokyo, or will Nintendo and MariCar be able to come to a mutual decision that will allow the Karts to keep going with the official seal of Mario himself, or, at least, that Tatsumi Kimishima?

Image courtesy of Tamatha Roman

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