2/12/2015

Did Korea Kill Uber? South Korea vs. Uber

The Wall Street Journal has a new article about Uber's legal challenges in Korea.  The article is well worth a read. 

According to the article, the Korean Communications Commission released a statement that said that Uber Korea violated Korean Law by failing to report its Geo-positioning service to regulators.  As I noted in prior blog posts, many international companies have not reported this service to Korean regulators in violation of this law. 

The Seoul Metropolitan Government is fiercely arguing that Korean transport law bans individuals or car-rental firms from providing or facilitating taxi services without a license.  As I mentioned before, the Seoul mayor believes in the freedom for a man to marry a man (Seoul Mayor Supports Gay Marriage), but not for these men to choose who they would like to have them drive them to the chapel. :)

The mayor has backpedaled on his gay marriage statements, but we don't think he will backpedal on this issue. 

The Seoul Government claims that Uber isn't licensed as a taxi business in Korea, while Uber claims, inter alia, that it is not in the taxi business, but is a mere IT company facilitating communication between buyers and sellers in this new "shared economy." 

Uber has, also, requested the Seoul Government to provide it with a means to register drivers - with no positive response from the Seoul Government.  New York and many other international cities have either allowed Uber to register drivers or have not banned the use of Uber.  The cities that are banning Uber are, typically, the most liberal cities in the States and Europe.  In most cases, these bans seem nothing more than a means to protect taxi companies.  

The article goes on to state that Seoul's city government has also filed a complaint with prosecutors to seek a total ban on Uber's business operations in South Korea. City officials have even gone so far as to place a 1 million won "bounty" on Uber drivers in an effort to crack down on the service.

The Korean Communications Commission will file its formal complaint with prosecutors later this week.

To see the Wall Street Journal article head to:
Uber Faces New Legal Headache in South Korea

___
Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com.

Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty. Sean is ranked, for Korea, as one of only two non-Korean lawyers as a Top Attorney by AsiaLaw.