SF attorney sends cease and desist letter to MonkeyParking

July 7, 2014

“I have the right to tell people if I am about to leave a parking spot, and they have the right to pay me for such information,” says Paolo Dobrowolny, CEO MonkeyParking, defending his controversial parking app.

Unfortunately, the City of San Francisco does not agree. City attorney Dennis Herrera has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the company, claiming it’ll seek damages worth $2,500 for every single violation if MonkeyParking doesn’t comply. Apple has also been contacted to take down the app from the iTunes store, though any action from Apple still remains pending. San Francisco isn’t just picking on MonkeyParking – it’s also cracking down on similar startups, like ParkModo.

MonkeyParking lets people notify and auction their parking spots (in public areas) to the highest bidder. Neverending hassles with finding parking spots on the crowded streets of San Francisco makes it a viable tool, saving cruising time, fuel, and the annoyance of not finding a parking spot quickly.

While many legal hurdles face MonkeyParking, the morality police aren’t far away either, calling the app “rich-friendly.” The company denies this populist line of attack: “It’s not just for rich people. If you think you can get that money back when you leave that parking spot, you can earn back the money when you leave the spot.”

The Italian startup has very recently issued a statement explaining it has no plans to stop operations and that it’s completely legal. Dobrowolny said MonkeyParking doesn’t sell parking spots but convenience. He cites freedom of speech, saying people have the right to tell others they’re leaving a parking spot and get paid for it.

It’s an interpretive battle between “selling information” and “auctioning public property for profits” – and the winner is yet to be decided.

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Category: News, Parking Tech