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Germany

German court lifts temporary injunction against car service Uber

The temporary injunction against online taxi service Uber operating in Germany has been lifted by a court in Frankfurt. Taxi drivers brought legal action against the US company, saying it created unfair competition.

The Frankfurt Regional Court on Tuesday ruled that the San Francisco-based startup may once again provide its online taxi service through the Uber Pop smartphone app.

Judge Frowin Kurth acknowledged in opening remarks during the hearing that the court believed the temporary injunction was "still valid." However, the expedited procedures, and thus the temporary injunction against Uber, requested on behalf of the complainants, were not necessary.

The Taxi Deutschland cooperative announced immediately after Tuesday's ruling that they would appeal to the higher regional court.

"We cannot understand this decision," said Taxi Deutschland chairman Deiter Schlenker in a statement.

Uber contends it runs an online marketplace that connects drivers and passengers, and is therefore not subject to taxi regulations. The company allows users to use taxi-like services through their smartphones, but has faced pushback from regulators and taxi drivers since expanding to Germany.

"It's not our intention to displace the traditional taxi business," said Uber Germany boss Fabien Nestmann said after Tuesday's decision. "What we want are better choices for all."

German law currently allows private drivers to carry passengers without a commercial taxi license if they do not charge more than the operating cost of the trip.

A temporary injunction against Uber Pop was first granted by the court on September 1, saying the company's network of drivers lacked the necessary commercial license.

Each violation of the injunction carried a fine of up to 250,000 euros ($323,775).

dr/kms (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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