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Uber gets to stay in Italy a bit longer, court rules

Uber app on a smartphone.
Uber was being unceremoniously thrown out of Italy just last week, after a court in the country decided to officially ban the ridesharing app, citing unfair competition with traditional transportation offerings (like taxis). But now, an appellate court in Rome has suspended the lower court’s ruling, accepting an appeal the ridesharing company filed against the initial decision. That doesn’t mean that Uber is back to stay for good, however — just that it can stay until the appeals process is concluded.

“We are happy for the thousands of Italian drivers and riders who can now continue using the Uber app until the court’s appeal ruling,” Uber said in a statement. “We will continue fighting this judgment in the hope that Italians will be able to enjoy the benefits of modern technology that provides reliable transportation at the push of a button.”

The original decision to kick Uber out upheld a complaint initially filed by taxi unions. As part of the decision, not only would Uber have to stop operating in Italy, but it would have also been forced to stop advertising in the country. Failing to comply with these mandates was initially going to result in a fine of 10,000 euros ($10,600) for every day it remained active beyond the 10-day period.

But Uber has won the battle for now. When the decision was first announced, Uber noted, We are shocked by the Italian’s court decision and will appeal. Thousands of professional, licensed drivers use the Uber app to make money and provide reliable transportation at the push of a button for Italians.”

This is not the first time Uber has been in trouble in Italy. Two years ago, a court in Milan decided to ban the UberPop application. At the time, it was determined that the app encouraged unlicensed drivers to offer taxi services. Despite an appeal, that decision was upheld at a later hearing in Turin.

Lawyers for Italy’s taxi unions are hopeful that the decision to ban Uber will still hold. “This is the fourth ruling by an Italian judge that ascertains Uber’s unfair competition, the latest battle in a legal war that began in 2015 to stop the most striking form of unfair competition ever registered on the Italian local public transportation market,” the lawyers told local newspaper Corriere della Sera.

So keep an eye out, folks. We have a feeling this isn’t the last we’ll hear about Uber in Italy.

Article originally published 4-8-2017. Updated on 4-15-2017: Added news that Uber has been given permission to stay in Italy until the court’s appeal ruling. 

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