Uber Wins Reversal of Germany’s Ban on Ridesharing App for Now

By | September 16, 2014

Uber Technologies Inc. won the reversal of a nationwide ban in Germany of the company’s ride-hailing app after judges said a group of taxi dispatchers improperly used emergency procedures to obtain the initial court order.

While the judges still think Uber’s service violates German law, the taxi group that won the ban asked for it too late to be issued under fast-track a process, presiding judge Frowin Kurth said at the Frankfurt courthouse today.

“Even after deliberations, the court sticks to its view that Taxis Deutschland can win a ban against Uber,” Kurth said today. “But after reviewing the arguments in this emergency case we have to reverse the ruling since this isn’t an urgent case. Only for that reason we lift the ban.”

Uber drivers don’t have the necessary permits to carry passengers under German law, the Frankfurt court said in an emergency ruling dated Aug. 25, citing evidence provided by Taxi Deutschland Service Gesellschaft fuer Taxizentralen eG. The Frankfurt case is one of at least four legal actions against the company in the country.

While Taxi Deutschland knew as early as April that Uber started its service in Frankfurt, it only asked the court in July for the ban, Kurth said earlier today.

The group can now file a case under normal rules and ask the court to re-issue the ban.

Governments and regulators in cities around the world are restricting Uber’s business on the grounds it poses safety risks and unfairly competes with licensed taxi services. Cabbies with permits that can cost 200,000 euros ($262,500) apiece have staged protests in European cities including London, Madrid, Paris and Berlin.

Investors including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Google Ventures are putting money into the burgeoning market for apps that let users order taxis and cars or share rides using their smartphones. San Francisco-based Uber, which is active in more than 40 countries, raised $1.2 billion in June, giving it a value of $17 billion.

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