News Article

Nintendo Accused Of Infringing Trademark With Wii U WaraWara Plaza

Posted by Damien McFerran

Restaurant owner Monteroza is less than happy

Restaurant chain owner Monteroza has filed a claim against Nintendo over the use of its "WaraWara Plaza" trademark.

Monteroza — which operates 300 restaurants in the far east and runs a chain of Japanese-style public houses under the brand Wara-wara — filed a request with the Japanese Patent Office at the end of March to have Nintendo’s trademark declared void.

Nintendo is currently pleading ignorance, stating that it registered its own trademark without incident and was unaware of the Monteroza's chain of public houses at the time.

The term "Warawara" is actually quite commonly used in Japan, and means “laugh laugh". The two companies have registered the trademark in different ways, with Monteroza using kanji while Nintendo has opted for hiragana.

[via edge-online.com]

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User Comments (49)

skjia

#6

skjia said:

"'Mom', 'Love' and 'Screendoor' are registered trademarks of Mom Corp."

Pod

#7

Pod said:

At least Microsoft isn't suing carpenters for selling windows.

DestinyMan

#8

DestinyMan said:

All it is is onomatopoeia, which is used somewhat commonly in Japan. Especially if they're using two different forms of Japanese writing, I don't see a problem.

Is it just me, or has there been a lot of negative Nintendo news lately?

Tsuchinoko

#9

Tsuchinoko said:

@Dev Its a little different than an onomatopoeia, which is a sound word. In Japanese we have different words for those terms, based on if they are sound words (which we call gionngo) or motion-verb words (which are different than normal words, called "gitaigo"). An onomatopoeia would be closer to the first one.

Anyway, like the author of the article said, the term wara-wara is very, very common in Japan, though I personally use something different, a lot of people use that when they are commenting on something, similar to "lol".

This lawsuit is silly, and any lawyer familiar with Japanese will know that.

And yes, I've lived in Japan for years.

Rief

#11

Rief said:

Thats just like Sega suing Level 5 because they made a soccer-game that uses touchscreen movement on the NDS. Outright stupid. (The difference here is that Inazuma Eleven was out six years already when Sega came with their patent)

aronatvw

#14

aronatvw said:

maybe they should have called it something else from the get go like "nintendo cloud", or " Nintendo meet-up", or idk " NINTENDO PLAZA" thats a good one. Idk when I heard wara wara plaza for the first time I thought it was just another silly nintendo name, and I have never used it in a sentence until now.

Omarsonic9

#15

Omarsonic9 said:

Nintendo should keep ignoring that idiot. If he doesn't stop, they'll just give him 1 million dollars and bam.

Pikachupwnage

#17

Pikachupwnage said:

This is really stupid. You aren't going to lose any money over this you dumb ****. There is no reason to sue. You just are a greedy little ****. Why waste time over something so petty and meaningless? Who cares?

ajcismo

#18

ajcismo said:

@Dev
That seems to be the new cycle: Awesome Nintendo Direct, buzz for a week, then 3 weeks of doom & gloom, awesome Nintendo Direct, buzz for a week, 3 weeks doom & gloom. Its grown tiresome and almost comical.

Lilifish

#20

Lilifish said:

Just a few comments from what I saw in the Japanese news:
1. They described as "izakaya" (Japanese pub), and not restaurant.
2. Monteroza claims that they have registered the name not only in kanji, but also in hiragana and roman letters.

Dpullam

#21

Dpullam said:

Nintendo seems to be getting into alot of trouble over silly things lately. I don't know the details of the patent infringing though.

steamhare

#23

steamhare said:

I don't know what the Japanese standards are, but this passes the American "idiot in a hurry" standard for trademark infringement. I doubt even an idiot in a hurry would go to nintendo's warawara plaza thinking that it was the restaurant, or vice versa. And if there is an issue, the patent office is the one at fault for issuing two trademarks.

Mortenb

#24

Mortenb said:

These guys have misunderstood what Trademarks are for. They are for letting individuals and companies to have an identity, not for owning a name. They only apply where misunderstandings of identity could actually occur or someone could pretend to be someone else, and as such very rarely are enforced across different industries. If Nintendo were to set up a restaurant with this name, that is when troubles might arise. No one is going to buy a Wii U in stead of going to a restaurant because they were confused.

Captain_Gonru

#25

Captain_Gonru said:

@aronatvw I've been calling it the "Miiverse Plaza" when explaining it to customers at work. I am aware of it's "official" name, but since "Wara-wara" doesn't mean anything to your average American, I find it just confusing things.

ultraraichu

#27

ultraraichu said:

And I thought Donald Trump and Paris Hilton were the only ones that can trademark words for their identity. I bet most people haven't even thought of Monteroza when WaraWara Plaza was first announced.

MadAdam81

#30

MadAdam81 said:

So thats why I didnt get food when I bought my Wii U. As the only moron stupid enough to confuse the two, I want a million dollar lawsuit!
Hopefully the system works in a way that no-one can trade mark a common word or phrase, but they can trade mark a phrase that contains a combination of words, such as Burger King or Donut King. Imagine if Burger King sued Donut King saying they trademarked King first.

ledreppe

#31

ledreppe said:

Pathetic, there's no reason why a video games company can't use a trademark used for restaurants, it's not like they're even competing in the same markets for God's sake! Obviously the restaurant has seen an opportunity to make easy cash by doing that thing that American's are so addicted to, 'suing each other'. Really is scraping the barrel, I don't forsee this being much of a problem and it'll blow over eventually like so many infringement claims against Nintendo.

Zombie_Barioth

#32

Zombie_Barioth said:

Wow, talk about nit picking. You'd think someone that knows enough to name his pub after that phrase would realize how rediculous this is, but guess not. You'd have to be pretty full of it to think there would be any brand confusion here.

kdognumba1

#35

kdognumba1 said:

Not the same market and its not like its a term only used for a specific brand. The complaints aren't valid imo.

Melkaticox

#36

Melkaticox said:

"Hey! That stupid ex-idiot from Sony could actually sue Nintendo for the stupidest thing ever! Why not try?"

Shworange

#37

Shworange said:

How about we let Nintendo go a month without being sued. Is that too much to ask?!

RaylaxStaff

#38

Raylax said:

Since kanji and hiragana versions are trademarked, I hereby trademark ワルワル.

And will sue them both.

Is that how it works?

EaZy_T

#40

EaZy_T said:

If Nintendo was issued a ™ for WaraWara, I'd have to guess the issuer is at fault. If it really were infringement, then it shouldn't have been trademarkable to them in the first place.
I can understand Mr. Restaurant wanting to defend his ™; because if you don't try to defend it, you may lose it.

Einherjar

#41

Einherjar said:

Ok, great idea: lets trademark breathing....and air....and light...and everyone who uses it without paying royalities gets sued...
honestly, are people going insane at the moment ? Suing left and right

Alienfish

#42

Alienfish said:

Actually it translates to 'chatter chatter' and is a word used to describe an environment of crowding people. This sucks, I'm comment #42 which means that no one is going to read this and the media has once again skewed something in the minds of many. Anyone who watched the Nintendo Direct the Sunday before last E3 would know this, so does that mean that a writer for Nintendolife.com doesn't even pay attention to the company he writes about? Sorry to call it out like that, but that's how it looks.

Jeremyx7

#43

Jeremyx7 said:

This is the kind of idiotic abundantly stupid news that makes me want to punch people who file these moronic claims in the throats.

JJtheTexan

#48

JJtheTexan said:

I thought Warawara Plaza was neat for about the first two weeks after I got my Wiii U. I completely ignore / bypass it now. Frankly it's pretty useless.

BulbasaurusRex

#49

BulbasaurusRex said:

If it's that common of a phrase, I'd think nobody would be allowed to trademark it. Then again, the laws could be different in Japan.

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