Uber has been banned in Germany as the social-powered cab service continues to spark controversy.
The ruling comes after Berlin authorities barred Uber from operating in the capital last month because of safety concerns.
In its ruling, the Frankfurt Regional Court said the company could no longer offer its Uber and UberPop phone apps to connect drivers with passengers, stating that Uber’s network of drivers lacked the necessary commercial licenses to pick up passengers.
The suit was brought by Taxi Deutschland, a Frankfurt-based consortium of taxi companies operating in major cities across Germany.
German law only allows drivers to pick up passengers without a commercial license if the driver charges no more than the operating cost of the trip. Because Uber stands to take a cut of any charges, the court held it liable and issued an injunction against the service.
Their arguments were in line with those of established cab companies which claim Uber’s app-based services, which offer limousines and pickups by private drivers, dodge rules that ordinary taxi firms have to abide by.
San Francisco-based Uber, which allows users to summon taxi-like services on their smartphones, has faced regulatory battles and court injunctions from its early days, even as it has expanded rapidly into roughly 150 cities around the world.
Black cab drivers in London have protested about California-based Uber, claiming its app contravenes rules that restrict the use of taxi meters. Protests have also taken place in Paris and Madrid.
Founded in 2009 and valued at $18.2 billion after its latest funding round in June, Uber Technologies contends that it is an electronic marketplace that connects drives with customers, not a transportation service itself.
Drivers must carry a valid driving license, have necessary local permits and undergo background checks before they pick up passengers, it says.
Watch this video from the BBC, discussing the issues around its launch in the UK market: