[This post has been updated. See details below]
As Uber awaits a Paris court hearing tomorrow regarding French taxi competition rules, the company has launched a petition to rally French supporters to its side.
In the petition, the company portrays itself as the victim of a campaign coordinated by powerful public transportation incumbents and taxi unions. But it also takes a swipe at a politician who led the push earlier this year to pass legislation that would make it more difficult for Uber to operate its services in France.
Thomas Thévenoud, a member of parliament who led a government inquiry into the nation’s taxi industry and helped write the legislation, had accused Uber of being an “illegal taxi” that practiced “cowboy behavior” in France.
He had also noted that Uber was backed by Google (through Google Ventures), a company that is currently at odds with the French government over the amount of taxes it pays in France.
Ironically, Thévenoud was fired from the government just nine days after being named secretary of state for foreign trade in August when it was revealed he had failed to pay taxes on an apartment.
In its petition, Uber points to his downfall as a reason to discredit the legislation and the broader campaign against the ridesharing services. That legislation is now the subject of a legal challenge in a Paris.
Uber says in the petition of this legal ruling: “The decision of the Commercial Court of Paris expected in the coming days will be the first interpretation of a statute that could endanger the shared mobility and innovation in transport, driven by Uber and many French and European startups.”
One reason that legislation should be opposed, says Uber, was because it was “supported by Minister Thomas Thévenoud, whose lack of credibility is now beyond doubt,” the petition says.
In addition to that case, Uber is also appealing a Paris court ruling that its uberPOP ride-sharing service violates consumer laws regarding advertising and promotion. The court fined the San Francisco-based company $127,400.
The company is asking supporters to sign the petition to show their support for Uber and for more competition in the French transportation market. “I support uberPOP a transportation solution that is reliable, safe, affordable and in line with the times!” the petition says.
So far, the petition has 33,722 signatures with a goal of 50,000.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said Uber started the petition in response to the ruling it lost in a Paris court last month over its marketing practices. In fact, the petition relates to the legal challenge of the Thévenoud legislation.
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