MILAN — An Italian court on Tuesday banned unlicensed car-sharing services such as those offered by Uber, in another setback for the fast-growing US car service whose smartphone app summons rides at the touch of a button.
Uber has been gaining popularity among passengers seeking lower cost car rides, triggering protests across Europe by heavily regulated traditional taxi drivers.
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The court in Italy's business capital Milan said the Uber POP service, which links private drivers with passengers through an easy-to-use smartphone app, created "unfair competition."
The ruling, triggered by a petition from taxi associations, said using Uber POP was forbidden, as was the offering of paid car-ride services by unlicensed drivers in any other way.
Uber was not immediately available for comment.
The Italian move adds to a series of legal challenges facing the San Francisco-based company, a start-up which has rapidly grown into a business worth an estimated $40 billion.
Uber was given 15 weeks to comply with the ruling or face a fine of 20,000 euros for each day's delay in meeting the court ruling.
(Reporting by Manuela D'Alessandro and Ilaria Polleschi; Writing by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Mark Potter)