Nintendo may have put an end to Tokyo's real-life 'Mario Kart' tours

A Tokyo court has ordered the tour provider to stop renting out Mario Kart costumes.

Chances are you've probably glimpsed or partaken in Japan's "real-life" Mario Kart. The rent-a-kart service finds locals and tourists dressing up as Mario, Peach, and Luigi and driving around the busy Tokyo streets. What's not to like? Well, turns out Nintendo itself was never a fan. Last year, the gaming giant sued the company behind the service, Marika Co., for copyright infringement. Now, a fresh ruling could derail the entire attraction.

Tokyo's District Court has sided with Nintendo by ordering Marika Co. to cease renting out costumes and to pay an as-yet undetermined fine. It seemed like things might go the other way after Japan's Patent Office rebuffed Nintendo's argument that Marika is in fact short for Mario Kart. But this latest decision upturns that 2017 ruling by acknowledging Nintendo's ownership of the abbreviation.

It's really no surprise that Nintendo pursued legal action against the firm, considering how protective it is of its IP. It also plans to introduce its own real-life Mario Kart attraction at its upcoming Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios -- and has brought the game to VR, complete with physical vehicles. Meanwhile, the rent-a-kart service itself has suffered its fair share of controversies, including two high-profile crashes, which did little for its standing among local law enforcement.