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Our cross-border teams understand the details of your business and the environment you work in.

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Distribution lawyers

Distribution networks today are increasingly dense and are being built in a highly competitive environment. The legal rules that must be followed when setting up and operating these networks are ever more numerous and complex, and even more so because a network often extends over several countries or continents, each with their own rules and operational principles.

In this situation, how can you ensure the economic and financial viability of your distribution network and enable it to be competitive? Our team is ready to provide you with solutions to all the problems that confront you.

Our practice areas

Our team supports our clients in dealing with problems arising both from French law and from European Union and international law, particularly in the following situations: 

Assistance with setting up distribution networks:

  • When establishing relationships between players in the network: pre-contractual information and negotiations
  • When talks break down
  • Verification that the network complies with the rules of competition law
  • Network design: setting up of networks and franchise contracts, exclusive or selective distribution contracts, the organisation of pooled purchases (affiliation, cataloguing, etc.)
  • Drafting of agreements
  • Establishing and securing of relationships with third parties: sales agents, paid distributors, sales representatives, freight forwarders, contracted managers, brokers, business introducers, etc.

Advice when establishing distribution relationships:

  • Defining contractual relationships between members of the network: obligations of parties (loyalty, effectiveness, monetary obligations, etc.), changes to contracts already in force, negotiations and renegotiations, contract renewals or terminations, re-qualifications, etc.
  • Management and usage of brands and other distinctive signs; disputes relating to infringement, unfair competition and free riding
  • Prevention of restrictive competition practices 

Assistance when withdrawing from distribution networks:

  • Amicable and/or contentious termination of commercial relationships within the network
  • Mediation, pre-trial settlement agreements and arbitration
Our approach

A complementary, multidisciplinary approach: our lawyers work with our firm's experts in other fields (tax, labour law, corporate affairs, etc...). 

The ability to address every aspect of your projects and cases, in France and internationally, in collaboration with the other members of CMS.

Our team
  • Our team comprises some 20 lawyers, including five partners.
  • The diversity of their legal skills and professional careers are a guarantee of their experience, adaptability and dynamism.
  • We usually create an ad hoc team for each client. This team is coordinated by a primary contact who is responsible for ensuring the quality of our different advisory services.
  • When a project or case is international or transnational in nature, team members seek input from their colleagues in the CMS network, with whom they maintain close ties, particularly when working in transnational working groups (PAG).
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Language spoken


Anne Laure Villedieu
Anne-Laure Villedieu
France, Neuilly-sur-Seine
Anne-Laure Villedieu heads the Technology and IP Team of CMS France. She joined the firm in 1998, became a Partner in 2012 and is a member of the Advisory Board of the firm. She specializes in...
Picture of Jean de La Hosseraye
Jean de la Hosseraye
France, Neuilly-sur-Seine
Jean de la Hosseraye joined CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats in 1984 and became a partner in 2000. Jean is a member of the Dispute Resolution and Life Sciences team and has extensive experience in ...
Denis Redon
France, Neuilly-sur-Seine
Denis joined CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats in 1990 and became a partner in 2004. His practice encompasses all areas of EU and French competition law. He frequently oversees merger notification...
Nathalie Pétrignet
Nathalie Petrignet
France, Neuilly-sur-Seine
Nathalie joined CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats in 1989 and became a partner in 2009. She is actively involved in national and European competition law, restrictive practices, commercial negotiations ...
Virginie Coursiere-Pluntz
Virginie Coursiere-Pluntz
France, Neuilly-sur-Seine
Virginie Coursière-Pluntz is a lawyer in the Competition and European Law Department. She is mainly involved in competition law (antitrust, merger control, abusive practices in commercial ...
Picture of Francine Van Doorne
Francine van Doorne
France, Neuilly-sur-Seine
Francine joined CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats in December 1988. She has relevant experience in commercial law, distribution law and road transport law.
Picture of Brigitte Gauclere
Brigitte Gauclere
France, Neuilly-sur-Seine
Brigitte Gauclère joined CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats in March 1982. Brigitte has relevant experience in commercial law, distribution law and property law.
Anne-Sophie Metiner
France, Neuilly-sur-Seine
Anne-Sophie joined CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats in March 2018 after two years at the Paris bar. She is a lawyer in the Commercial Law Department and is mainly involved in non-contentious and...
Mathilde Biermann
Mathilde Biermann
France, Neuilly-sur-Seine
Mathilde Biermann joined CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats in 2017. Mathilde is specialized in international Business law, international distribution, product liability and recall processes. Mathilde a...
Picture of Amaury Le Bourdon
Amaury Le Bourdon
France, Neuilly-sur-Seine
Amaury Le Bourdon is a lawyer in the Competition and European Law Department since November 2013. He is mainly involved in competition and distribution law (antitrust, restrictive practices, merger ...