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Nintendo Wins Lawsuit Against Tokyo ‘Mario Kart’ Tourist Attraction

Tokyo District Court ruled in Nintendo’s favor on Thursday in its lawsuit against MariCar, a Japanese company that lets tourists drive through the city in “Mario Kart”-style vehicles and costumes, according to Kotaku.

MariCar, which is now called Mari Mobility Dev., must pay ¥10 million (nearly $89,000 USD) in compensation and stop using Nintendo-related cosplay in its tourist attraction, The Wall Street Journal’s tech reporter, Takashi Mochizuki, reported on Twitter earlier today. Nintendo reportedly filed the lawsuit because it said MariCar was damaging its “Mario Kart” franchise.

The go-kart tours, which cost up to ¥15,000 (roughly $130 USD), were very popular with tourists, but they were an obvious copyright issue. They also were involved in a number of crashes. One incident happened in February. A Taiwanese man allegedly hit-and-run a cyclist while operating one of the go-karts dressed as a Nintendo character, according to the South China Morning Post. Luckily, the cyclist was only slightly injured.

A second incident in April saw a tourist jump a sidewalk and crash into a British fish and chips shop in Tokyo’s Roppongi district, according to Japan Today. The driver was taken to the hospital for minor injuries. No one else was hurt in the accident.

While foreign drivers need valid international driving licenses to operate the go-karts, some critics say they’re not prepared to drive on Tokyo’s busy streets. Police reported 12 MariCar accidents in the first half of 2017, SCMP said. Ten of them involved foreign drivers. In one case, a person allegedly drove into the wall of a police station.

Right now, MariCar’s website is still active and a message reads, “Thank you for your continuing support. We at MariCar is providing our service as usual. MariCar is fully complied through local governing laws in Japan.”

Nintendo said in a news release on Thursday it will continue to take necessary measures to protect its intellectual property.

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