Are ride-sharing and taxis like apples and apples or apples and oranges? More like dogs and cats. A federal appeals court preferred the animal analogy when ruling that the two services are quite different and should be regulated as such.
Per Ars Technica, taxi drivers in Chicago brought the federal lawsuit before U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, claiming the different treatment is an illegal double standard, discriminatory, anti-competitive and damaging their business. The court disagreed. In its decision, it stated that taxis still enjoy insulation from the competition because riders prefer taxis to Uber and other ride-sharing companies.
Judge Richard Posner elaborated:
“A license to operate a coffee shop doesn’t authorize the licensee to enjoin a tea shop from opening. When property consists of a license to operate in a market in a particular way, it does not carry with it a right to be free from competition in that market. A patent confers an exclusive right to make and sell the patented product, but no right to prevent a competitor from inventing a noninfringing substitute product that erodes the patentee’s profits. Indeed when new technologies, or new business methods, appear, a common result is the decline or even disappearance of the old. Were the old deemed to have a constitutional right to preclude the entry of the new into the markets of the old, economic progress might grind to a halt. Instead of taxis we might have horse and buggies; instead of the telephone, the telegraph; instead of computers, slide rules. Obsolescence would equal entitlement.”
As a result, the court upheld a 2014 decision by the city that Uber and other similar companies don’t have to have their fares regulated, their drivers licensed and more. This decision should help ride-sharing companies continue to grow.
Kristin Sverchek, General Counsel of Lyft, must have been pleased with the court’s decision in Chicago as it also benefits her company. Detour: Sverchek’s road to success is worth noting.
In an interview for Above the Law, it’s revealed that Sverchek made her way to the “remarkably disruptive” position as GC of Lyft after spending five and a half years “advising startup companies and investors on a broad range of corporate and commercial issues.” While her expertise is broad, she has thoughtfully and proactively built upon her skills and developed new ones, which help her deftly navigate the “new regulatory and professional landscape.”
Also contributing to her success is “being a key player from the beginning,” able to draw upon her historical knowledge. She also “know[s] what she doesn’t know” and isn’t afraid to make mistakes — though, she no longer views them that way. Her drive to the top also brings to mind how the GC is not just a legal advisor anymore.