Earlier this week, Frankfurt’s district court issued a temporary nationwide ban against UberPop, the peer-to-peer offer of Uber, the private limousine order service. The next day, Uber announced it would continue its service anyway — and shared numbers showing that its downloads in Germany were increasing.
Uber has legal problems worldwide. In Germany, cab drivers are protesting against the service for different reasons. Three weeks ago, safety issues were addressed. Uber responded by referring to high security standards and its insurance. One city after the other bans Uber (or by now mostly UberPop), but Uber always appeals.
The same happened after yesterday’s court decision to ban Uber nationwide in Germany. As before, Uber continues its services and does not fear the €250,000 fee (per trip) it faces for violating the ban.
To TechCrunch, Dr. Arne Hasse of the Frankfurt court confirmed the details of the injunction, noting via email: “The Uber App violates German unfair competition law. In Germany, commercial passanger transport is only allowed with a permission by the local authorities which the Uber drivers don’t have. The injunction was brought by a taxi drivers’ union which also operates a taxi app. A hearing will only take place if Uber applies for it. The injunction is immediately enforceable; Uber can apply for a suspension of the immediately enforceability.”
Having checked the app last night, there were more uberPOP cars available than UberBlack in Berlin.
As a lawyer explained to me, until the court approves the objection, Uber is operating illegally and can be sued.
Staying in the press pays off
Uber stays in the press with different topics. Even the company’s hires make news, e.g. David Plouffe, who managed Obama’s historic 2008 campaign, where he served as senior vice president of policy and strategy.
Following the fights that Uber and Lyft, another peer-to-peer car sharing service, have in the US right now, was interesting in the beginning. But as time goes on the fight becomes more and more serious, ridiculous, and sad. The companies are accusing each other of calling and canceling rides as well as trying to steal talent — it’s different news every week.
But all that press pays off.
According to a statement by Uber, downloads (in the iTunes App Store) have been increasing in the past week by the following numbers:
- Uber Hamburg: 590%
- Uber Düsseldorf: 518%
- Uber München 329%
- Uber Berlin: 270%
- Uber Frankfurt: 228%
Though the numbers are impressive, it has to be mentioned that Uber has never shared its total number of downloads. During the week in Berlin, for instane, I see 3-10 uberPOP and 2-5 UberBlack cars when I open the app, which is a relatively small number.
How things will turn out is yet to be seen. As the German court system is quite complex, it needs time to see where and when (and if) it will come to a final prosecution. Operating until then is important to Uber, as it needs user, public support, and fans as in other cities.
This story originally appeared on VentureVillage. Copyright 2014