back to article Nope, you're still a transport biz, top EU court tells Uber

The EU’s top court has ruled against Uber in France, in a judgement that allows it and other member states to ban illegal taxi services like UberPop more easily. The ruling (PDF), issued by the Court of Justice of the European Union this morning, will increase pressure on the not-a-taxi biz, and follows a decision that saw its …

  1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

    "On a computer"

    Really the US has shot itself in the foot here by allowing patents which are basically prior art but "on a computer". Uber is trying to claim the computer bit is nothing to do with being a taxi service, but in fact it is basically a taxi service "on a computer".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "On a computer"

      Don't forget about the other term that thousands of US patents use:-

      "On a Network"

      But back on topic, well done les Frogs.

      Uber won't send a driver to where I live because they can't get a return fare. Uber (like so many things) is not the answer to LU&E (HHG2G). It is infact, the answer to nothing given the way it treats its drivers.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: "On a computer"

        Or if it is already on a computer, the "computer" is replaced by "mobile device" and suddenly that definition is shiny and new and patentable...

        Uber has similar problems in Germany, where it is banned. Only people holding a professional* driving license can transport people for money here and Uber, allegedly, was hiring anybody with a normal driving license.

        I.e. they are tested to a higher standard and are approved for transporting people for hire. This is very different to a taxi license, anyone can do the former and you need the former to get the latter. (Fahrer von PKW zur gewerblichen Personenbeförderung - Driver of car for commercial personal transport)

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

          Re: Fahrer von PKW zur gewerblichen Personenbeförderung

          Aka Taxischein.

          Practically prerequisite for being appointed Foreign Minister.

      2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: "On a computer"

        "Uber won't send a driver to where I live because they can't get a return fare."

        And yet, another news item elsewhere had mentioned that the average ratio of 'paid km' to 'total km' for Uber slaves was 45%.

        Your example (end-to-end) would have been 50%, which is slightly better than average.

  2. Arctic fox
    Headmaster

    As far as Uber's pretence that they are not running a taxi service is concerned.......

    ..........it looks as if the European Court's ruling can be summed up as "if it's got feathers and it waddles and it quacks it's a duck". Common sense ruling in my opinion.

    1. big_D Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: As far as Uber's pretence that they are not running a taxi service is concerned.......

      But it could be a Quakatoo...

    2. lglethal Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: As far as Uber's pretence that they are not running a taxi service is concerned.......

      "if it's got feathers and it waddles and it quacks it's a duck. "

      It could be a Velociraptor, we dont really know what sound they made after all...

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: As far as Uber's pretence that they are not running a taxi service is concerned.......

        As long as it doesn't have 8 inch long razor sharp claws attached to it, it's probably a duck. If it does, you won't live long enough to care :)

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: As far as Uber's pretence that they are not running a taxi service is concerned.......

        It could be a Velociraptor, we dont really know what sound they made after all.

        Om nom nom nom...

  3. Noonoot

    Europeans are so pragmatic

    Like with the duck scenario, if it stinks and its brown, there's only one thing it can be

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: Europeans are so pragmatic

      Uber?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Noonoot

      That's no way to talk about my chili! :D

      1. Noonoot

        Re: @Noonoot

        @ShelLuser - LOL LOL Poor saucepan!!

  4. anothercynic Silver badge

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Oh... revenge is sweet. See ya, UberPop...

  5. DNTP

    Re: Well so much for my latest back of the napkin idea

    Edit: I'm redacting this comment after my coworker said, "WTF, don't make that joke."

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Trollface

    "trying to slip out of the regulatory net by arguing it is an information society service"

    Well now, that sounds like a gold-plated argument to me. I'm off to create an information society service that just happens to deal in drugs and guns.

    No way that can go wrong, right ?

    Oh, and somebody call Backpage - their defense lawyers need to know that one.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: "trying to slip out of the regulatory net by arguing it is an information society service"

      "Well now, that sounds like a gold-plated argument to me. I'm off to create an information society service that just happens to deal in drugs and guns."

      You'd do better with hookers and blow if you are in a capital city.

  7. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    Protectionism...

    Clearly Uber is just another taxi operator, but the reason it could make a business by avoiding being considered one is because the regulations are just protectionist. They work solely to the benefit of taxi drivers the consumer's considerations run a poor second.

    Those of us who consume taxis rather than provide them are just being f'cked over by our own governments.

    1. FLes

      Re: Protectionism...

      As opposed to Uber who are definitely in it for the good of the consumer and driver.

      1. ZanzibarRastapopulous

        Re: Protectionism...

        > "As opposed to Uber who are definitely in it for the good of the consumer and driver."

        Uber is in it to make money like any other business, they've just seen a monopoly and think they have a loophole that can exploit it.

        You wouldn't do it for naff all, and nor do they.

        > "Uber is a scam that uses classic mob tactics."

        It really isn't, you order a taxi, the taxi comes, it takes you to your destination and you pay. Where's the scam? If you pre-pay you don't even have the "tip" scam.

        In places without a hardcore black cab monopoly like London has, such as Manchester (obviously there's still the hackney licence to be gamed), Uber exists as just another private hire company and doesn't have any special impact at all.

    2. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Protectionism...

      @ ZanzibarRastapopulous

      "Those of us who consume taxis rather than provide them are just being f'cked over by our own governments."

      I cant believe I had to scroll so far to find such a sensible comment. Well said.

      1. jonathan keith
        Trollface

        Re: Protectionism...

        Better to be fucked over by your own government than by an unaccountable foreign corporation though!

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Protectionism...

          @ jonathan keith

          "Better to be fucked over by your own government than by an unaccountable foreign corporation though!"

          Really? Being shafted is less of a problem as long as your shafted by one but not the other? I prefer not being shafted.

          To the comments here about Uber being in the red, isnt that good for you? The company is paying for your journeys to be cheaper? If allthecoolshortnamesweretaken is right and Uber becomes history then people using Uber will have gained cheaper travel for a time and we all benefit from the better technology feeding into the taxi business.

          Arguing to get rid of Uber because you want to pay more seems odd to me but we are all allowed our own views. But if you dont like them just dont use them.

          1. rskurat

            Re: Protectionism...

            never have, never will. Some of us value things other than money.

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Those of us who consume taxis

      can be said to have a rather uncommon diet.

    4. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Protectionism...

      Uber is a scam that uses classic mob tactics.

      And once their investors wise up to the fact that Uber's autonomous vehicles will be very, very late to the market (if ever), Uber is history.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Protectionism...

        "And once their investors wise up to the fact that Uber's autonomous vehicles will be very, very late to the market (if ever), Uber is history."

        Currently, Uber is leveraging the capital equipment (cars) of other people at less than what it would cost them to have their own fleet. Given that, the bottom line is still glowing red. How in the hell are they going to make any money when they have to purchase/finance, operate and maintain their own fleet of even more expensive cars? Let's also factor in that people will be less respectful about the autonomous cars and leave all sorts of trash, vandalize the interiors, etc when there is no driver present. I expect there will be a lot of cars splattered in sick on the weekends needing to be washed out right away. Not a job I want and it's not something you want to leave until Monday morning.

        1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Protectionism...

          MD brought up, "splattered in sick".

          .: Autonomous Taxicabs should have floor drains, so their interiors can be hosed down.

          Top Gear's train with "Scum Class" service comes to mind. The carriage had straw on the floor.

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: Protectionism...

            ".: Autonomous Taxicabs should have floor drains, so their interiors can be hosed down."

            I was envisioning a wash rack that puts the car at an angle. Just open the downhill door(s) and pressure wash.

  8. Barry Mahon

    I always wonder what is the story with insurance if you and your car are an Uber "product"?

    Any info??

    OTOH, this decision, like so many of the ECJ's decisions, reinforces the EU'role as the arbiter of nearly everything. That might be ok, in the sense of creating a common market, but the proposals/decisions on directives are mostly created on the input of vested interests, not the man in the street.

    Apropos of insurance, why is it a requirement to have, effectively, a local insurer? You cannot insure a car in Ireland with a French insurer, even if it is an international insurance company.

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      I always wonder what is the story with insurance if you and your car are an Uber "product"?

      UK situation, other places may vary.

      Since you are carrying people for money, then you need insurance that covers that - your normal policy absolutely does not cover it. There have been suggestions that Uber is not very diligent in checking that drivers do have the right insurance - and if so then they are complicit in putting paying passengers in uninsured (and therefore illegal) vehicles.

  9. teknopaul Bronze badge

    "As our new CEO has said, " == we know we made loads of money out of organised crime but we are nice now please dont take our ill gotten gains.

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