SAO PAULO —
A Brazilian court has issued an injunction suspending the U.S-based Uber for breaking local transportation laws, the latest setback for the pioneering online taxi firm after several countries took similar steps in recent months.
The State Court of Sao Paulo ruled on Tuesday that Uber, which allows users to summon a ride with their smartphones, was in violation of regulations on the use of taxis.
The injunction ordered Uber to cease operations immediately and to ensure the app is no longer available for download from the online stores of Google, Apple, Samsung and Microsoft.
Failure to comply will result in a fine of 100,000 reais ($34,130) per day, up to a limit of 5 million reais, the court ruled.
An Uber press representative in Brazil said the company had not been notified of the decision.
"We publicly reinforce our commitment to offering a safe and reliable alternative in urban mobility to the people of Sao Paulo," the company said in an e-mailed statement, without elaborating further on what steps it may take next.
The Brazilian press offices of Google, Samsung, Microsoft and Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Uber drivers are private citizens who use their own cars to pick up the service's customers. The drivers do not have to pay steep taxi license fees and they bypass local laws, leaving Brazil's taxi companies crying foul over unfair competition.
The world's most valuable venture-backed startup with a valuation of about $40 billion, Uber is facing legal challenges across Europe and the United States, where local taxi drivers have taken to the streets and courts to fight it.
Last month, a German court banned Uber from running services using unlicensed cab drivers and set stiff fines for any violations by Uber of local transport laws.
($1 = 2.93 Brazilian reais)