Gaming

Copycat Mario Kart company must pay Nintendo more than $450,000

A company looking to make Mario Kart reality got a reality check from Nintendo that sent them racing to court. The litigious video game giant took action and was awarded over $450,000.

Mari Mobility, the company behind the unlicensed attraction, originally had to pay Nintendo roughly $89,000 in damages before an unsuccessful appeal bumped that more than fivefold.

“[Nintendo] will continue to take necessary measures against infringement of intellectual property, including our brand, in order to protect our important intellectual property, which we have build up over many years’ efforts,” Nintendo said in a statement after the ruling.

The new payout order comes as Nintendo prepares to launch Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Japan later this year with plans for international locations also in the works. The park will feature its own Mario Kart ride and question blocks that attendees can hit in order to collect coins via a special wristband. The Mario Kart attraction is also rumored to make use of augmented reality goggles to simulate the items players using in the Mario Kart video games. Nintendo recently expanded from traditional Mario Kart console games into mobile devices with Mario Kart Tour, which has already attracted several hundred million players.

Nintendo’s first look at Super Nintendo World just came earlier in January, though the most recent court ruling appears to be coincidental. While the Japanese location will open this year, it won’t be ready at Orlando’s Universal Studios until 2023.

Nintendo sued Mari Mobility, which originally operated under the name Maricar, in 2017 for copyright infringement regarding its Mario Kart-like attraction and said it created “unfair competition” for Nintendo. Along with racing similar vehicles to those in the series, customers were also given lookalike costumes. The company has since ceased giving out these costumes and now provides superhero and cartoon costumes in their place. It also has a notice on its website that the rides are not connected to Nintendo or the Mario Kart franchise, and is still currently operating.

This is hardly Nintendo’s first lawsuit regarding copyright infringement. In 2018, the company was awarded more than $12 million in a case against Jacob Mathias, who operated the unauthorized ROM sites LoveROMs.com and LoveRetro.co. The order also gave Nintendo ownership of both websites.

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