The Commercial Court number 2 of Madrid has dismissed the claim filed by the Spanish Confederation of Bus- Confebús (“Confebús”) transport against Comuto Iberia S.L. and Comuto S.A. (owner companies of the platform of shared cars “Blablacar”) for unfair competition acts.
The judge Andrés Sánchez Magro, the same who issued a preliminary ruling related to the UBER case, understands that services rendered by Blablacar through its website consisting in bringing together travelers and drivers that make the same journey to share expenses is an activity “focused only and exclusively on the field of private transport” and therefore it is an activity “different to the one regulated by the Spanish Land Transportation Law”.
In addition to the above, the judgement also considers that the fact that direct payment is made to Blablacar by users is not conclusive to consider the activity of the platform as falling within the scope of application of the Land Transportation Law, as alleged by the claimant. The judge reminds that Blablacar, after checking that the journey has been carried out in an effective way and that the travelers haven’t filed any complaint in this regard, makes a transfer to the driver of the vehicle. Therefore, the courts considers that the payment is actually not addressed to Blablacar itself but to the driver.
In conclusion, considering that the claim filed by Confebús was built as an unfair competition practice based on the infringement of transport regulations, the lack of application of the above mentioned Land Transport Law, results in the necessary dismissal of the claim.
This is one of the first decisions that give judicial support to the so-called collaborative economy. Nevertheless, the judgment can be appealed.
We will continue informing about the evolution of this case in our blog!