March 18, 2015 / 9:54 AM / 3 years ago

German court to rule on legality of Uber ride service

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A German court is set to rule on Wednesday whether Uber’s novel taxi-hailing service violates driver licensing rules, a decision that could lead to a nationwide ban on 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

The case in a Frankfurt court brought by German taxi operator group Taxi Deutschland against Uber is one of more than a dozen lawsuits filed across Europe in recent months by taxi industry associations against the San Francisco-based company.

Taxi drivers around the world consider Uber unfairly bypasses local licensing and safety regulations by using the internet to put drivers in touch with passengers.

Uber offers a range of local transport options from professional limousine services to informal ride-sharing options. UberPop, a ride-sharing service that links private drivers with passengers, is the target of many of the lawsuits, including Taxi Deutschland’s.

In his opening remarks on Wednesday, presiding judge Joachim Nickel at the Frankfurt district court, said Uber violated German laws on commercial passenger transportation since its drivers did not have the right kinds of licenses.

Last September, Frankfurt Regional Court Judge Frowin Kurth had at first issued a temporary injunction against UberPop, then granted the service a temporary reprieve, saying the issues in the case deserved a wider airing by the court.

Reporting by Christoph Steitz, Eric Auchard and Peter Maushagen

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