Agency, distribution & franchising

The ability for businesses to monetise products and services using channels other than their own sales force are key to growth and international development. These may include the appointment of agents, distributors or re-sellers or franchisees and are a key way for businesses to expand in new territories and generate revenue. Each of these have their own specific rules and complexities that that need to be taken into consideration.

Agency

The advent of the EU Commercial Agents Directive and the Commercial Agents Regulations affording agents additional mandatory rights to post termination compensation and other protections has led to a considerable growth in the complexity around matters affecting agents and their appointment and operation within the EU.

Clients include businesses representing third parties as their agent both in the UK and elsewhere as well as principals appointing agents and businesses seeking to regulate agents activities, and in particular ensuring certainty of their legal obligations and express contractual provisions in their arrangements.

The increasing frequency of disputes in this area has led to the development of a specialist team providing strategic advice and dispute management services both to agents and principals.

Distribution and re-sellers

Many of the Commercial team's clients distribute or resell others organisations' goods and services. These arrangements enable products and services to be sold by a wider network than the original businesses own resources could achieve. Arrangements need to comply with EU competition law, and in regions beyond the EU not contravene local mandatory provisions, irrespective of the chosen law of the agreement.

There is also increasing need to understand the ability of suppliers to regulate and control re-sellers rights to sell goods and services using territorial exclusivity as well as the internet which are both subject to increasing regulation and competition law.

Franchising

Both franchisees and franchisors are regularly advised on expanding their businesses both within the UK and internationally.

Franchisor clients are diverse and range from limousine hire to industrial water purification systems companies and franchises have been set up in a wide range of countries including, France, USA, Czech Republic, Rwanda, Belarus and Turkey.

Commonly, franchising is subject to local mandatory provisions and it is vital that these requirements are adhered to in all instances to protect the products, brand and know how.

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