BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc, the company behind the popular ride-hailing service, said on Thursday it would shut down its unlicensed service UberPOP in Brussels after losing a court case brought by a taxi operator.
The closure is the latest setback to be dealt to Uber in Europe, where the company has faced numerous lawsuits and protests by conventional taxi companies who see the service, which operates through an app, as unfair competition.
France, Italy, Spain and Germany have already outlawed UberPOP, siding with taxi companies that argued the service did not conform with local transportation rules.
"The decision means UberPOP will be required to stop in 21 days in Brussels," Uber said in a statement, adding it would appeal the decision.
Earlier this week, France's Constitutional Court upheld a national law that banned UberPOP, which relies on non-professional drivers using their own vehicles.
Uber's entry into the Belgian market in 2014 was greeted with fierce opposition from taxi companies. Last week, hundreds of taxi drivers staged a large protest in central Brussels.
Taxis Verts, the operator who brought the case, was not immediately available for comment.
Founded in 2010, Uber is valued at more than $40 billion. Its investors include Goldman Sachs, Google and venture funds Benchmark and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Julia Fioretti and Raissa Kasolowsky)