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Distribution law

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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).
Our Tax Team
Our Em­ploy­ment & Pen­sions Team
Our Cor­por­ate/M&A Team

Feed

12/05/2022
10 key as­pects of the re­vised EU com­pet­i­tion law in the field of dis­tri­bu­tion...
The new Ver­tic­al Block Ex­emp­tion Reg­u­la­tion (VBER) and the new ac­com­pa­ny­ing Ver­tic­al Guidelines (VGL) were pub­lished on 10 May 2022. The new VBER will enter in­to force on 1 June 2022 and ap­ply for the...
20/04/2022
Rus­sia’s latest re­sponse to West­ern Sanc­tions – an af­front to In­tel­lec­tu­al...
One of Rus­sia’s re­sponses to the mount­ing West­ern sanc­tions for its in­va­sion of Ukraine has been to un­der­mine the pro­tec­tion af­forded to West­ern in­tel­lec­tu­al prop­erty rights. On 5th March 2022, the...
15/07/2021
European Com­mis­sion pub­lished drafts of the re­vised Ver­tic­al Block Ex­emp­tion...
On 9 Ju­ly, the European Com­mis­sion pub­lished its draft re­vised Ver­tic­al Block Ex­emp­tion Reg­u­la­tion (VBER) and the cor­res­pond­ing Ver­tic­al Guidelines. The VBER con­cerns ver­tic­al agree­ments, which are agree­ments...
01/06/2021
Some leaks can­'t be fixed
“Con­fid­en­tial in­form­a­tion is like an ice cube... give it to the party who has no re­fri­ger­at­or or will not agree to keep it in one, and by the time of the tri­al you have just a pool of wa­ter.” This...
23/11/2020
EU high court con­firms CBD is not a nar­cot­ic
In a long-awaited rul­ing, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) cla­ri­fied that the can­nabis act­ive in­gredi­ent Can­na­bi­d­i­ol (CBD) is not to be clas­si­fied as a nar­cot­ic. France sub­mits ques­tion on CBD in...
15/09/2020
European Com­mis­sion pub­lishes Staff Work­ing Doc­u­ment on Ver­tic­al Block...
The Staff Work­ing Doc­u­ment (SWD 2020 173 fi­nal) is the next step on the road to an up­dated VBER and cor­res­pond­ing guidelines. With the cur­rent VBER due to ex­pire on 31 May 2022, the Staff Work­ing Doc­u­ment...
02/07/2020
EU agrees new class ac­tion re­gime for con­sumer dis­putes
After a long gest­a­tion, on 30 June 2020 the Coun­cil of the EU pub­lished the text for the col­lect­ive re­dress dir­ect­ive (the “CR Dir­ect­ive”) (text avail­able here). This le­gis­la­tion is in­ten­ded to bet­ter...
21/04/2020
Coty v Amazon: CJEU con­firms Amazon is not li­able for trade mark in­fringe­ment...
On 2 April 2020, the CJEU handed down its judg­ment in the Coty v Amazon[1] case, which relates to a re­fer­ral from the Bundes­gericht­shof, Ger­many’s Fed­er­al Court of Justice. The CJEU ruled in fa­vour...
28/02/2020
Com­bat­ing plastic: what the Anti-Wastage & Cir­cu­lar Eco­nomy Law says
In or­der to meet the re­quire­ments set at European level1 for re­du­cing plastic, the Anti-Wastage & Cir­cu­lar Eco­nomy Law lays down the prin­ciple ac­cord­ing to which France has set it­self the ob­ject­ive of...
28/02/2020
Meas­ures re­lat­ing to wastage in the Anti-Wastage & Cir­cu­lar Eco­nomy Law
The Anti-Wastage & Cir­cu­lar Eco­nomy Law com­ple­ments the ex­ist­ing meas­ures in the com­bat against food wastage and in­tro­duces new ones for non-food products. Re­in­force­ment of meas­ures to com­bat food wastage...
28/02/2020
Re­in­force­ment and ex­ten­sion of the ex­ten­ded pro­du­cer re­spons­ib­il­ity (EPR)
Re­in­force­ment of EPR  With­in the new gen­er­al in­tro­duct­ory pro­vi­sions to the part of the En­vir­on­ment­al Code gov­ern­ing the EPR, the Anti-Wastage & Cir­cu­lar Eco­nomy Law lays down sev­er­al im­port­ant prin­ciples:The...
28/02/2020
Meas­ures re­lat­ing to waste in the Anti-Wastage & Cir­cu­lar Eco­nomy Law
Re­in­force­ment of waste man­age­ment ob­lig­a­tions  "Waste" should be un­der­stood to mean "any sub­stance or any ob­ject, or more gen­er­ally any mov­able good, which the hold­er dis­poses of or which he in­tends...