Spanish judge bans Uber due to unfair competition

Uber-LogoIt has been a bad week for sharing economy app Uber. First the city of Delhi banned Uber because of a rape allegation, and now a judge in Spain has also banned the service.

A judge in Madrid has allowed a cease and desist injunction from the Madrid Taxi Association. While this is a precautionary injunction, and therefore it could be overturned easily after trial, it sends a strong signal against the app. In their complaint, the claimants asked for an injunction pending future action against Uber on the grounds of unfair competitive practices.

The judge was willing to issue the injunction given the fact that Uber is a company based in Delaware, but that it is offering services that directly affect Spanish taxi drivers.

The injunction also covers all Spanish ISPs, banning all use of the telecomms networks and payment facilities used by the app in Spain. The injunction covers the use of the app in Spain, specifically asking for service providers to suspend the data hosting, transmission and access to the service from any of the recognised and registered telecommunication providers.

While I think that the injunction cannot be fully enforced, it will be interesting to see if this leads to the eventual ban in providing the service in the first place. The injunction is not directed at the drivers, but at the online service providers.

I’m not a fan of Uber for many reasons, but this decision seems heavy-handed, and almost impossible to police, I do not like to see service providers press-ganged into enforcing bad injunctions.