December 12, 2014 / 6:08 PM / 4 years ago

French court rejects bid to forbid UberPop, will continue for now

PARIS (Reuters) - Uber will continue to operate its UberPop transport service in France for now after a Paris commercial court rejected on Friday a request by competitors to ban the service.

An illustration picture shows the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign in Frankfurt, September 15, 2014. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Three car companies and several taxi associations had sued the French subsidiary of the San Francisco-based company over what it deemed unfair competition, saying among other things that Uber drivers circumvented the training required of taxi drivers and other limousine service chauffeurs.

The court found that the emergency request brought by the plaintiffs was unjustified. Regardless, a new request to forbid the car service should be examined in a criminal court and not a commercial one, it said.

“Today’s decision is very positive,” Uber France’s general director Thibaud Simphal said. “UberPop can continue.”

The court asked Uber to respect the law by requiring its drivers to return to garages after each ride and by banning them from scouting for clients while driving.

In October, a Paris court fined the subsidiary 100,000 euros for fradulent business practices, finding it advertised UberPop as a car pool when it was in fact a paid transportation service that connects private drivers to passengers.

Uber has continued to operate UberPop as it has awaited that appeals ruling.

Highly regulated taxi drivers have protested that Uber, which allows users to summon taxi-like services from their smartphones, has hit their business unfairly as it has expanded rapidly over the four years since its launch.

The venture-capital backed firm valued at $18 billion now operates in 43 countries and 25 European cities and has sparked legal cases and taxi protests in many cities where it operates.

Courts in Germany have banned UberPop and the company’s low-cost limousine pick-up service UberBlack, saying their drivers do not comply with German law for the commercial transport of passengers.

In June, taxi drivers in Paris blocked traffic into the city center in a protest against the company, an action duplicated in London, Berlin and Madrid.

Reporting By Chine Labbe. Writing by Alexandria Sage; editing by Mark John

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