Is Uber accelerating away?

Is Uber accelerating away?

The German court has recently overruled the ban on drivers using the ridesharing app Uber. Despite this victory for Uber, it remains unclear where commercialised ridesharing fits into many of the world’s regulatory regimes.

Lexis®PSL Commercial has interviewed Nicola Fulford, privacy and data protection partner, and Alex Cravero, commercial technology associate at Kemp Little about the case. Here's what they have to say:

What’s the background to this case?

Uber, the ridesharing app connecting passengers and drivers for hire via their smartphones, has not had an easy ride recently. Although initially launched in 2010 with a sole focus on full-sized luxury cars, in 2012 Uber launched a low-cost offering (dubbed UberX) as an alternative to traditional taxi services. This solution proved popular among consumers and, having broken into the taxicab market, Uber has since undertaken a rapid expansion into over 200 cities in 45 countries as at the time of writing.While the taxicab industry is highly regulated in most countries around the world, it is unclear where commercialised ridesharing fits into these regulatory regimes. Operating on the basis that they are unregulated, Uber has met opposition from both taxicab operators and regulators across four continents. Taxicab operators in Germany, France, and England have undertaken mass protests, at the same time as regulators have battled to determine how ridesharing falls within their existing regulatory regimes.

Germany is proving one of Uber’s biggest challenges so far. Uber were banned from operating in Berlin earlier this year through cases brought by the Berlin Taxi Association. Taxi Deutschland then followed suit and last month obtained a temporary nationwide injunction against Uber’s low-cost UberPop service for failing to obtain the necessary licences under German law.

However, a little over two weeks after the initial ruling, the Frankfurt Regional Court revoked this injunction and reinstated Uber’s right

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