German judge lifts Uber ban because of the taxi industry's laziness
The Frankfurt Regional Court in Germany has ended the temporary injunction issued against Uber earlier this month because taxi companies in the country waited too long to request it, according to Deutsche Welle.
The injunction was originally issued at the beginning of September because Uber's drivers were operating without the proper licenses, according to the initial report from Der Spiegel, and the court ruled that Uber would have to halt its German operations or pay a fine of up to €250,000.
This isn't yet another example of Uber flouting regulations and being rewarded for it. Instead, it is an indictment of the German taxi industry's decision to wait so long before moving against the company. The judge who overturned the ban said as much in his remarks this morning:
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.Uber will still have to contend with the regulatory problems posed by the taxi industry, which vowed to appeal the decision almost as soon as it was made. It's simply been given the chance to continue operating while Germany's courts work to enforce the country's taxi regulations.
Perhaps things would have been different if the German taxi industry had moved to block Uber sooner. At least then it might not have given the company free advertising, which is exactly what happened when the temporary injunction was first issued, according to an Uber blog post:
Uber Germany has seen an unprecedented increase in signups in the last 24 hours despite attempts to limit transport choice to German consumers.
Uber signups were at least doubled in all the five German cities where Uber currently operates, with demand increasing by over 500% in both Hamburg (590%) and Dusseldorf (518%). The app is proving so popular in Germany that it is being downloaded by people who live in cities where Uber hasn’t launched yet. It looks like there really is no such thing as bad press for the cult of disruption's poster boy.
[illustration by Brad Jonas]