OMFGFlorida: In their complaint, Universal Studios alleged that Nintendo’s video game Donkey Kong was a trademark infringement of King Kong, the plot and characters of which Universal claimed as their own. Nintendo argued that Universal had themselves proved that King Kong’s plot and characters were in the public domain.
The judge ruled that Universal had acted in bad faith by threatening Nintendo’s licensees and that it had no right over the name King Kong or the characters and story. He further held that there was no possibility for consumers to confuse Nintendo’s game and characters with the King Kong films and their characters. Universal appealed the case, but the verdict was upheld.
The case was a victory for Nintendo, which was still a newcomer to the U.S. market. The case established Nintendo as a major player in the industry and arguably gave the company the confidence that it could compete with the giants of American media.
TLDR: Universal tried to shut down Donkey Kong back in the day and failed.
hundreddollar: You surely can name a boat Donkey Kong if you so fancy anyway?
herpderpedian: TIL that “Donkey Kong” was supposed to mean “stubborn ape”
blackfinwe: Soooo..the next 3ds game is Kirby Ace Attorney?
EmberTheFlareon: In addition, the creator felt that having a cute character having a harsh sounding name like Kirby was funny.
I know, we don’t think of Kirby as a tough or harsh name, but phonetically, it is rather harsh.
TheBestPharah: He was also provided with 5 Italian servants he was allowed to refer to as “gumbas”. He later died on a Excite bike after the course he designed proved too dangerous.
RobertAPetersen: Video about this case:
SpaceVik1ng: “….Th-thankssss…?” -John Kirby probably
kerred: I strongly recommend The Gaming Historian’s channel on youtube, which has a documentary on the subject too!
Has channel will net you at least 100k karma in TILs 😉
Sandvicheater: At least Nintendo doesn’t hold grudges like American companies, they’re making Nintendo land at universal japan
6-_-j: Huh, my boat is named “Donkey Kong”, come get me Nintendo! lol
gn0xious: [photo of Kirby in case you were interested](https://kirby.nintendo.com/assets/img/intro/kirby-star2.png)
theblake1980: There go my dreams of naming my catamaran “Donkey Kong” without legal repercussions.
danmalek466: Ahhhh, the 80s. When men were men, women were women, and lawsuit settlements were Donkey Kong!
StepYaGameUp: Was he a doughy, fair skinned man?
cutti: I know that monkey. His name is Donkey.
vwat1990: I heard Kirby was named after the vacuum cleaner
silo_johnson: This is why my boat is named Dankey Kang.
ImNotEvenJewish: If you like video game history and have Amazon prime, I recommend watching The Video Game years
TheKneelDiamond: But I don’t want to name my boat “Donkey Kong”. (Kirby,1982)
akronix10: So Donkey Kong’s Dingy.
johnchapel: What a stupid fucking lawsuit that was too.
Chuckbro: What happens if I name my boat “Donkey Kong” without the exclusive right?
Pho-Cue: They should make a new Donkey Kong game that’s open world in NYC. He gets to be King Kong sized of course. And you get to play twice, as DK or the military. And EA can’t make it obviously.
Mlawless: So you’re saying I can’t name my boat Donkey Kong? Or Princess Peach?
tonypearcern: “We can’t pay you, but you can name any boat you’d like ‘Donkey Kong’.”
“It’s a deal!”
PM_ME_YOUR_LUKEWARM: wait, so if i buy a boat i can’t name it donkey kong?
tolman8r: Well there goes my head canon that he’s named after Minnesota Twins outfielder Kirby Puckett.
cringularity: I hope he named *every* boat he could get his hands on Donkey Kong because that’s awesome.
lostblueskies: Heh, it reminds me that Nintendo named [Mario after their North American warehouse landlord.](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario)
zUltimateRedditor: Here I was thinking he was named after Jack Kirby. 🙁.
MrSmith317: I always thought Kirby was a knock on Jack Kirby. Sucking up something to make a similar thing but better. Then beating the shit out of the original thing.
Thinly veiled reference to Marvel appropriating DC characters and then smacking DC around with them.
disappointedpanda: Any relation to Jack Kirby of the kirby krackle development??
pirox1234: False. Kirby was created by Hal Laboratories, and had nothing to do with the lawyer’s name.
ericgcollyer: Ahh yes, this debate again. While the official story is that they named Kirby after the attorney, it’s much more likely they named it after the vaccum brand. The official story is that they named it after the attorney so they could avoid potential lawsuits. One additional tidbit, John Kirby has the exclusive rights to name his boats Donkey Kong.
(Source: My father was coworkers with John Kirby).
thenacho1: Who’s that big marshmallow floating in the air?
icepikk: Just Big Companies doing Big Companies things. They will find any way to screw around the law or people to make money and then someone pirates their stuff because they’re tired of being gouged and they throw up in arms that they’re losing money because of it.. we’ll just go do some more shady stuff to make more as usual.
grainzzz: Here’s the case: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_City_Studios,_Inc._v._Nintendo_Co.,_Ltd.
PKMKII: So what you’re telling me is that, as a reward for successfully arguing that Donkey Kong wasn’t a copy of a ore-existing character, Nintendo named a character after him that… copies other characters.