For Mario Kart players, blue shells are among the most feared items in the series due to the damage that it can deal to opponents.
In real life, Nintendo has launched a blue shell of its own against Tokyo-based company MariCar, in the form of a lawsuit for copyright infringement.
Nintendo Files Lawsuit Against MariCar
Nintendo claims that MariCar ripped off ideas and utilized the brand of Nintendo's Mario Kart franchise in its business, and it is easy to see why.
MariCar offers go-kart tours around Tokyo, wherein riders are provided with costumes of various Nintendo characters including Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Yoshi. Unfortunately, no blue shells are provided to be thrown around.
There are several kart rental businesses in Tokyo, as the vehicles are considered street legal and allowed to be used in public roads in the city. The trend of riding in go-karts in public streets looks like it was started in 2011 by Japanese automobile website Cliccar, when two men dressed up as Mario and Luigi and rode go-karts around Shibuya.
However, according to Nintendo, MariCar never obtained permission from the video game company for the costumes and a business inspired by Mario Kart that infringes upon Nintendo's copyright.
The lawsuit filed by Nintendo against MariCar may have been spurred by the fact that the kart rental service was featured in Off The Grid by NBC Sports last month. With a sudden surge in popularity, Nintendo may have been pushed to finally take legal action against MariCar, as the business was set to rake in more profits using the Mario Kart brand that Nintendo owns.
It is unclear how MariCar will defend itself from the lawsuit, though it will likely be difficult for the company to do so given how blatant the kart rental service uses the Mario Kart brand.
Nintendo Remains Vigilant In Protecting Its Brands
The lawsuit filed against MariCar shows that Nintendo is remaining vigilant in protecting its intellectual properties.
It can be remembered that Nintendo last year requested for the takedown of two fan-made games based on the popular Pokémon franchise. Pokémon Uranium, which was in development for nine years and set in a new region where Pokémon have evolved due to nuclear radiation, was issued takedown notices by Nintendo in August of last year. Pokémon Prism, which was in development for eight years and adds several new Pokémon types such as Sound, Abnormal, and Gas, was shut down by Nintendo days before it even launched, though pirates have since acquired copies of the game and have uploaded it online for players to enjoy.
Back in October 2015, Nintendo's Pokémon Company even went after a Pokémon-themed party planned by Ramar Larkins Jones of Seattle, demanding payment of $4,000.
There are many other examples of Nintendo protecting its intellectual properties, but the lesson is already evident. For those thinking about using Nintendo brands for whatever reason, better be careful.