Last November, Japanese consumer electronics company Nintendo (TYO:7974) announced a partnership with American amusement park developer Universal Parks & Resorts to open a series of Nintendo-themed areas at Universal theme parks across the world. The interactive themed Nintendo environments will each include multiple shops, attractions and restaurants and will open over the next few years at Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort.
Recently, a trademark application from Nintendo which is on file with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has shed a bit more light on the amenities available at Nintendo themed areas in Universal parks. U.S. Trademark Serial No. 87462048, which has a foreign filing date of December 9th, 2016, would protect the standard character mark Super Nintendo World in four classes. Most of these classes cover goods and services which are typical of theme parks including clothing merchandise, sports equipment, amusement machines, amusement park rides, hotel accommodation services, restaurant services and rental of event venues. Some of the claimed goods also encompass Nintendo’s video game products including arcade video game machines and consumer video game apparati.
One aspect of the trademark application filing which has been making recent headlines is the “organization, management or arrangement of kart racing” identification which has led some to believe that Universal Studio’s Super Nintendo World could include Mario Kart-themed racing rides. As well, the trademark seeks to protect the use of the Super Nintendo World mark on the “organization, management or arrangement of motorcycle events and other events with vehicles.”
The trademark application also gives some idea as to how immersive an entertainment experience Nintendo is hoping will be built at its themed areas in Universal parks. Along with arcade games and handheld game apparati, Nintendo is also seeking trademark protection for providing games via smartphone and providing games via a telecommunication network. The trademark application would also protect the mark on the organization and management of video game events, indicating that these themed areas could also host Nintendo video game tournaments just as the world is seeing an increase in eSports revenues.
Other media reports have focused on patent applications filed by Universal which may give some insight into how a Mario Kart ride might be designed. Universal’s U.S. Patent Application No. 20170095742, titled Amusement Park Ride Tunnel, would protect a ride system with a curved tunnel, a vehicle ride path within the tunnel and a projection system to project images onto the wall of the tunnel. A writer for the Orlando Business Journal opined that these tunnels could be made to closely resemble warp tunnels from the Super Mario video game franchise. Theme park rides with video game features are also disclosed by Universal’s U.S. Patent Application No. 20160089610, titled Video Game Ride. This would protect a system with a plurality of vehicles that accommodate multiple riders and have circuitry for receiving inputs related to features of a game environment, as well as a game controller that receives inputs from the vehicle circuitry and provides instructions on modifying a game environment. While none of the diagrams indicate any Nintendo properties in use for the ride, the patent application notes that the invention is designed to create more complex ride experiences which relate to a creative ride theme.