Uber Wants Licensing Application Kept Secret
COLUMBUS, Ohio (CN) - Uber ride-sharing service, which has been sued repeatedly by cab drivers who claim it competes unfairly by ducking licensing regulations, has turned the tables on Columbus, Ohio, suing it to try to stop the city from giving reporters a copy of an insurance policy it submitted in its licensing application.
Uber Technologies sued Columbus on Friday, in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.
Uber is an Internet ride-sharing service that operates in more than 200 cities around the world.
Cab drivers have filed at least six class actions against it this year -in Houston, Boston, Baltimore, Seattle, Hartford and Alexandria, Va. - claiming Uber competes unfairly by letting drivers charge for rides without meeting cities' licensing regulations.
Berlin, Germany, barred Uber in August for similar reasons, though Uber said it intends to keep expanding in Germany. Uber appealed Berlin's ban.
Uber has been sued repeatedly around the United States on other allegations this year, including labor violations, disability discrimination and unethical driver behavior.
In its own lawsuit, Uber wants the City of Columbus barred from responding to an open records request from a local ABC TV station, which asked the city for "unredacted versions of one of the insurance policies that plaintiff Uber submitted as part of its application for a license under peer-to-peer ridesharing regulations newly enacted by Columbus."
"Releasing this insurance policy without the narrow, targeted redactions that Uber seeks would publicly disclose Uber's trade secret information and cause Uber significant, irreparable competitive harm," the company claims.
It claims that Ohio public records law exempts trade secrets from public disclosure.
Television station ABC6 asked to see Uber's application on Aug. 22.
Uber claims that "one of the policy schedules provides a list of various state-specific forms that Uber has incorporated into its policy. The schedule reflects significant work that Uber has undertaken to design and implement a nationwide insurance program for its peer-to-peer ridesharing program, and it represents intellectual property that belongs to Uber. Disclosing this schedule would allow others to piggy-back off the work that Uber has done.
"Disclosing this information would also provide a roadmap to other geographic locations where Uber is contemplating rolling out ride-sharing services."
Columbus plans to release the information on Tuesday, Sept. 2, unless the court intervenes, Uber says.
It seeks an injunction prohibiting the release of its confidential business documents - specifically, of pp. 32-34 of its application.
It is represented by Douglas Cole with Organ Cole, of Columbus.