The British computer and video game magazine Edge reported on May 1 that the Japanese restaurant group Monteroza has filed a claim against Nintendo Co., Ltd. alleging trademark infringement. Monteroza claims that the Wii U WaraWara trademark, used as part of the “WaraWara Plaza” screen that players initially see when turning on the console, is too similar to the company’s chain of Wara-wara Japanese style public houses. According to Edge, Monteroza filed a request with the Patent Office to have Nintendo’s trademark registration revoked.
While Monteroza is accusing Nintendo of “decreasing the brand value of its chain, hijacking its shared demographic of customers and piggybacking on its positive image,” Nintendo claims that is was unaware of the public house chain and insists that it registered the trademark without issue from the Patent Office. Edge noted that there is a distinction in how the two companies use the term “warawara,” a common phrase that means, “laugh laugh.” Nintendo uses hiragana, which is the most basic Japanese phonetic alphabet. Monteroza, however, spells it with two Chinese characters, or kanji, for the word “laugh.” Monteroza trademarked its name in English as WARAWARA in 2009, and Nintendo trademarked it as “WaraWara” last year, according to Edge.
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