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Nintendo is going after Tokyo’s Mario-inspired go-kart tourist attraction

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Nintendo's determination to protect its intellectual properties means Super Mario fans heading to Tokyo for some go-kart fun may be disappointed.

Nintendo is already well known to robustly protect its intellectual properties, so the operator of Tokyo’s Mario-inspired go-kart attraction perhaps shouldn’t be too surprised to find itself in the Japanese company’s legal crosshairs.

Offering fans of Nintendo’s super-successful franchise the chance to motor around the city’s streets in go-karts while dressed as a Super Mario character, the attraction, run by MariCar, has been making quite a name for itself in the last couple of years. Trouble is, the publicity has also brought it to the attention of Nintendo.

The Kyoto-based gaming company has just launched a lawsuit against MariCar, accusing it of copyright violations.

Nintendo said in a statement, “To protect the valuable intellectual property that we have nurtured over many years of hard work, we will continue to take tough measures.”

It also makes the claim that MariCar is an abbreviation of Mario Kart, one of Nintendo’s popular game titles. The lawsuit is seeking damages to the tune of 10 million yen (about $89,000).

Apparently determined to contest the case, MariCar told Bloomberg that its service doesn’t break any competitive or copyright laws, according to legal advice it’s received.

It even claimed that it discussed the matter with Nintendo in recent months, during which time the gaming giant “signaled understanding of its services,” Bloomberg reported.

“We will work with all our might to protect the smiles of our customers,” MariCar said in a statement.

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The themed go-karting experience has proved popular with tourists visiting Japan’s capital city. Requiring only an international driving permit, participants can dress up in a range of costumes and hit regular roads around Shibuya, one of Tokyo’s main neon-soaked entertainment districts. The experience costs between 6,000 and 11,000 yen ($55 to $100) and riders can choose between a two- and three-hour course.

However, depending on the success of Nintendo’s legal action, the experience may soon undergo a major makeover, so Super Mario fans hitting the city had better hurry if they want to enjoy the unusual experience in its current, Mario-inspired, form.