Taxi Apps sues Uber for launching an unlawful war to crush Australian competition

Allegedly, Uber arrived on Australia’s shores with a notorious plan to squash the competition, say lawyers. They accused Uber of launching its flagship service, UberX, illegal at the time in Australia, specifically to cripple GoCatch's growth.
19 April 2024
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A major courtroom battle is unfolding in the Victorian Supreme Court. Ride share giant, Uber, stands accused of launching an unlawful war on the Australian taxi app, GoCatch.

The company behind GoCatch, Taxi Apps, alleges that Uber initiated its UberX service in Australia illegally, aiming to damage its competition. The case also charges Uber with serious misconduct including corporate espionage and hacking competitors' systems.

In the heart of the story are internal Uber emails that hint at the company attempting to impede NSW authorities who were trying to halt unlawful activities. Barrister Michael Hodge KC shared an exchange where a then-Uber staff member indicated they'd "flicked the kill switch" after receiving a warrant for failing to comply with passenger transportation laws.

In a bid to derail the investigation, Uber allegedly hung onto requested documentation, explored procedural delays, and even considered invoking privacy laws.

Hodge argues the company's ultimate goal was to "destroy" GoCatch. He cited back-and-forth emails, including one where an Uber manager quipped, "'GoCatch is the reason we're launching taxi in Sydney."

Uber is also accused of developing a spyware tool dubbed "Surfcam" to gather data on GoCatch drivers. The company has strongly denied the allegations and vowed to vigorously defend its position.

Uber launched its high-end driver hire service, Uber Black, in 2012, followed by Uber Taxi. Both moves were seen as attempts to curtail GoCatch's growth.

The trial presided over by Judge Lisa Nichols is set to continue for 10 weeks. 

- CyberBeat


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