The mediator Uber has suffered a severe defeat at the district court of Cologne and may no longer use his app to hire a car in Germany. The implementation of the service UberX violates the passenger transport law, it says in a preliminary injunction. A Cologne taxi operator had sued (Ref .: 81 O 74/19).

Uber is a buzzword for many taxi drivers in Germany, repeatedly complaining against the US company. From the customer's point of view, UberX is an alternative to the conventional offer, and unpleasant competition for the long-established taxi companies - especially as Uber rental cars are cheaper than the competitors with the bright yellow sign on the roof.

For the current court decision, above all, the question of how Uber drivers come to their orders is important. The Passenger Transportation Act stipulates, among other things, that car hire drivers - in contrast to taxis - may only carry out transport orders "that have been received at the company headquarters or in the home of the entrepreneur".

Although Uber writes to its business partners - ie rental car companies using the Uber app - that the business must run as described. In its ruling, however, the court complains that a driver can independently accept a transport order, ie independent of instructions from the company headquarters. This violates the Passenger Transportation Act, according to the court order.

Bizarre delay

The court ruled against Uber in July. However, the document could not be delivered to the European headquarters of the US company in Amsterdam for a long time, so there was a delay - only from the date of service does the ban apply.

The delay has a bizarre reason: As a spokeswoman for the Cologne district court said, failed a first delivery attempt for lack of a translation of the German-language document. The refusal of the assumption is formally permissible, so the spokeswoman. Whether a second delivery attempt including Dutch version has now worked, it is not known.

The company did not want to comment on the court decision reports. "Should such a document be delivered, one would of course examine this," said a company spokesman. He did not want to give any further information. According to information from the German Press Agency, Uber was also not involved in the proceedings and could not defend himself in court. The order states that the injunction was issued "because of the urgency without oral proceedings and by the chairman instead of the trial court".

Again and again it goes to court

The plaintiff is a member of the Organization Taxi Ruf, for which about 1,100 taxis are traveling in Cologne. An organization spokesman accused Uber of delaying delivery. It is a nonsense that the company still uses the judicially prohibited UberX function.

In addition to UberX, the US company's app has other offerings that have not been banned, such as the placement of classic taxis whose drivers work with the US company.

For years Uber and representatives of the taxi industry have been arguing again and again before German courts. The taxi drivers point out that they must comply with legal requirements - such as the obligation to transport even on short journeys. Even so, it would be inappropriate for Uber competitors to gain free rein through liberalization of the market, they argue.

The service UberPop, in which private individuals in their cars could drive passengers for a fee, was banned a few years ago. With UberX, the company made a new attempt to gain a foothold in Germany - rental cars that were conveyed via this app function are now on the road in major cities such as Berlin, Dusseldorf and Cologne.