Uber in landmark court battle on Tuesday to escape strict rules – Reuters


By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS Uber [UBER.UL] will search to persuade Europe’s prime court subsequent week that it’s a digital service, not a transport firm, in a case that would decide whether or not app-based mostly startups must be exempt from strict legal guidelines meant for normal corporations.

The European Commission is making an attempt to increase e-commerce, a sector the place the EU lags behind Asia and the United States, to drive financial progress and create jobs.

The U.S. taxi app, which launched in Europe 5 years in the past, has confronted fierce opposition from common taxi corporations and a few native authorities, who worry it creates unfair competitors as a result of it isn’t sure by strict native licensing and security rules.

Supporters nevertheless say inflexible regulatory obligations shield incumbents and hinder the entry of digital startups which supply looser work preparations to staff in the 28-country European Union on the lookout for extra flexibility, albeit with out primary rights.

Uber discovered itself in the dock after Barcelona’s major taxi operator alleged in 2014 that it was operating an unlawful taxi service. The case considerations its UberPOP service which the corporate halted after the lawsuit.

Uber says it’s a digital platform that connects prepared drivers with clients and never a transport service.

The Spanish decide subsequently sought steerage from the Luxembourg-based European Union Court of Justice.

A ruling characterizing Uber as a transport service might expose it to stricter rules on licensing, insurance coverage and security, with potential knock-on results on different startups reminiscent of on-line residence rental firm Airbnb.

The case has drawn international curiosity. The Netherlands, the place Uber has its European headquarters, Finland, Poland, Greece and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) have submitted written observations that have a tendency to help Uber.

Spain, France and Ireland in their submissions nevertheless say Uber is a transport service. A grand chamber of 15 judges will hear the arguments, with greater than 200 individuals signed up for the listening to.

The case is Case C-434/15 AsociaciĆ³n Profesional Elite Taxi.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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