John Kirby Has Passed Away

The namesake of Kirby had an interesting history with Nintendo.

By Angela Marrujo Fornaca. Posted 10/08/2019 06:15 Comment on this     ShareThis

Former attorney John Kirby, who had quite the history with Nintendo, passed away on October 2 at the age of 79.

Kirby was the namesake for the pink puffball from the Planet Popstar. He was also Nintendo’s attorney, and defended them in 1984 in the case Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Nintendo Co., Ltd., in which the former company claimed that Donkey Kong was a copyright infringement of King Kong. Following the successful defense against the suit, an appreciative Nintendo gifted Kirby with a sailboat named Donkey Kong.

Kirby was also involved in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, serving as the special assistant to John Doar, the head of the Civil Rights Division. He helped to uncover literacy tests that were designed to exclude African-Americans, which helped form the foundation of the Voting Rights Act.

We offer Mr. Kirby’s family our condolences. May he rest in peace.

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