Germany Ban Could Mean Trouble For Uber in Other Countries

Sep 02, 2014 11:30 AM EDT | Matt Mercuro

A German regional court has issued a temporary injunction against Uber, claiming that Uber's network of drivers lacked the necessary commercial licenses to pick up passengers.

The online chauffeur service, which is no stranger to legal issues from taxi-cab rivals and regulators around the globe, released a statement saying that it plans on appealing the court decision and would continue to operate across Germany, a location where its customer base has increased fivefold in 2014, according to Reuters.

Uber has had to fight legal challenges for months in Berlin and Hamburg on issues that range from licensing to whether its drivers are fully insured to transport passengers to their desired destinations.

The San Francisco-based company, which allows users to summon taxi-like vehicles on their smartphone devices, has faced regulatory issues and court injunctions well before expanding to 150 cities around the world.

German law allows drivers to pick up passengers without a commercial license if they charge no more than the operating cost of the trip. Uber stands to take a cut of any charges as the middleman connecting drivers and passengers, so the court issued a ban against the service, according to Reuters.

Uber offers two main services, a low-cost, limousine pick-up service and Uberpop, a newer ride-sharing service, which connects private drivers to passengers.

"You cannot put the brakes on progress. Uber will continue its operations and will offer Uberpop ridesharing services via its app throughout Germany," Michel Doermer, an Uber spokesman in Frankfurt, said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Drivers are required to carry a valid driving license and undergo a background check before they pick up passengers, Uber says. The suit was brought by Taxi Deutschland, a Frankfurt-based consortium of taxi companies operating in cities in Germany, according to Reuters.

Uber said in a statement last week that it was experiencing "huge demand" for its services in German cities like Berlin, Frankfurt and Hamburg and plans to expand into Cologne and Stuttgart before the end of 2014.

The company was founded in 2009 and valued at $18.2 billion after its latest funding round back in June.

Legal experts believe the ruling would apply nationwide unless it is able to overturn the injunction.

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