Uber gets Portland suit moved to federal court

Uber's growth part of the reason it has problems

An Uber driver shows an electronic fare payment, Sept. 23, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
An Uber driver shows an electronic fare payment, Sept. 23, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Just one day after the City of Portland filed a lawsuit against ride-sharing company Uber and demanded a cease-and-desist take effect, Uber officials got the lawsuit moved to federal court.

In a court filing, Uber Technologies’ Brooke Steger said if Portland is successful in stopping Uber from operating, “Uber would suffer significant lost profits.” The filing claims an injunction would cost Uber $100,000 and getting licenses to operate legally in the city would cost “in excess of $100,000.”

Uber is now in more than 250 cities and 50 countries. They’re six times bigger than they were just a year ago, and five years after being founded they are already valued at over $40 billion.

University of Portland Associate Professor Jon Down – an expert in entrepreneurship – said the recents events have been “dramatic.”

“Really, Uber could be described as a disruptive innovation where you have established firms selling to their exisiting customers and someone comes along with a new innovation,” Down said.

Global backlash

Just this week, visible backlash against Uber shut the country down in three different countries.

The Netherlands ordered the company to stop. In India, an Uber driver is accused of raping a passenger. In Nevada, a judge shut the company down. A driver in California reportedly beat a passenger with a hammer.

And an Uber executive is said to have floated the idea of digging up personal information on reporters who were critical of the company.

Despite it all, customers seem to love it.

Down said he can’t honestly say he saw the company’s growth coming. “I think it’s really phenomenal, the growth it’s taken on.”

Some of Uber’s problems, he sadi, have been caused by the speed of Uber’s growth.

When then company is accepting billions from investors, they don’t have the time to iron out the kinks or wait for approval from local governments — like Portland.

“It has to be a big company that has tremendouc market coverage in order to generate the amount of revenue and profits that are needed,” Down said.

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