Newspaper article International New York Times

Court Reverses Ban on Uber in Germany

Newspaper article International New York Times

Court Reverses Ban on Uber in Germany

Article excerpt

A judge in Frankfurt said that Taxi Deutschland, which had brought the case against the American ride-hailing service, had waited too long to do so.

After a series of legal setbacks in Europe and North America, the ride-hailing service Uber got some welcome news on Tuesday.

A court in Frankfurt overturned a nationwide ban against the company's car-sharing service in Germany, lifting, for now, one of the most severe legal restrictions that Uber had faced anywhere in the world since it was founded in 2009.

The temporary injunction on the service, which allows drivers to connect with potential passengers through a smartphone application, had been imposed by the court at the end of last month before a hearing could be held.

After the hearing on Tuesday, judges announced that Uber, a start- up company based in San Francisco, could now continue to operate in Germany.

The judges were sympathetic to the arguments of Taxi Deutschland, a trade body that had brought the initial case against Uber, claiming that the service competed unfairly with local taxis, said Arne Hasse, a spokesman for the Frankfurt court. But he said that while the association was right in bringing the case and requesting the injunction, the group had waited too long to file the case, and therefore the injunction had to be lifted.

Mr. Hasse said any case was required to have been brought within two months of Uber's starting its service in Germany. Uber began its low-cost service, UberPop, in April, and Taxi Deutschland submitted its legal challenge in August, arguing that Uber did not provide the necessary licenses and insurance for its drivers. UberPop was banned in the German court's original decision, which came to light Sept. 2. As part of its ruling on Tuesday, the court did not make a judgment on whether Uber's services were now legal in Germany.

The German taxi association said Tuesday that it still believed that Uber was acting unlawfully and that it would appeal the decision in the coming month.

"Uber stands for a particularly extreme form of wage dumping, which refuses to allow for any minimum wage," Dieter Schlenker, Taxi Deutschland's chairman, said in a statement. …

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