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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


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