THE PRACTICE

Distribution & Freedom of movement

Distribution & Freedom of movement

Exclusive distribution granted for a defined territory or clientele, as well as exclusive supply or brand rights, are vertical restrictions that often lead to efficiency gains, provided that they meet the requirements of competition law. Vogel & Vogel assists its clients in drawing up such agreements.

Vogel & Vogel assists its clients in disputes relating to exclusive distribution and non-compete obligations before the Competition Authority and the courts.

Vogel & Vogel also assists and defends its clients in the various French overseas territories, in particular with regard to the applicability of the Lurel Law on the prohibition of exclusive import rights.

In the context of selective distribution networks, the supplier may provide for qualitative or quantitative selection criteria. Vogel & Vogel assists suppliers in setting up their distribution networks. In particular, it advises them on the impact of European and French rules when setting up such networks. The firm also represents its clients before the competition authorities and the courts. We frequently act in cases of refusal to grant approval or termination of such agreements.

Vogel & Vogel has recognised expertise in the automotive sector. It represents numerous car manufacturers. The firm advises suppliers on setting up their distribution networks (choice of network, choice of selection criteria, drafting of distribution agreements). It also assists them in all disputes relating to the life of their networks.

Vogel & Vogel assists its clients in setting up franchise networks and helps them adapt to changes in the Commission’s approach to dual distribution, which is particularly problematic in the case of franchising.

Vogel & Vogel supports its clients in setting up agency and commission agreements, particularly in connection with the transition from a distribution system to agency or commission agreements.

Vogel & Vogel has extensive experience in the area of restrictions on freedom of movement (measures having equivalent effect to quantitative restrictions). It has obtained the liberalisation of rules affecting freedom of movement.

Our major cases

Vogel & Vogel has:

put an end to the exclusive distribution of the iPhone in France and allowed its client Bouygues Telecom to distribute the smartphone by referring the matter to the Competition Authority and ordering interim measures

obtained the switch from pay to free-to-air distribution of LCI

participated in the reorganization of the largest car distribution networks in France over the last 20 years

obtained recognition by the European Court of Justice of the legitimacy of quantitative selective distribution without justification of the selection criteria

on numerous occasions, the Court has upheld the validity of a refusal to grant authorization within a selective distribution network to a distributor who meets the authorization criteria, on the grounds of contractual freedom, the prohibition on perpetual agreements and the unilateral nature of a refusal to grant authorization

adapted many distribution networks to the reform of the Vertical Restraints Regulation

lobbied the Commission very actively to have shared exclusivity recognized as part of the reform of the Vertical Restraints Regulation

assisted numerous undertakings with changes to their distribution systems (switch from a traditional distribution system to agency or commission agreements, reorganizations, etc.).

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