Distribution and Agency | Fieldfisher
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Distribution and Agency

In an increasingly globalised marketplace, the difference between success and failure is often measured by a business's ability to reach and engage with new customers. Third-party relationships such as distribution and agency are a tried and tested model for expansion.

However, far from being static, relationships of this nature are dynamic, complex and long-term, requiring a high degree of co-operation and an acute awareness of their intersection with commercial law.

Our expertise

Getting the structure right - We develop legally secure solutions by providing you with expert advice about the key drivers, different structures and techniques available for organising your distribution set up, including selective and exclusive distribution systems as well as commercial agencies.  The agreements which govern the relationship between you and your sales intermediaries are the very foundation of the relationship and must be carefully developed. 

Handling risks and compliance with laws -  Changes may become necessary from time to time; taking precautions against underperforming distributors or agents; ensuring continuing compliance with anti-trust regulations; taking anti-corruption measures; updating agreements in response to legal, commercial or industry developments.

International implications - International distribution systems require careful planning and expert implementation. We can provide strategic advice and risk assessment in international territories. We will take into consideration regulatory aspects and other particular features of national legal systems and applicable supranational conventions and may specifically use the freedom to choose the applicable law as well as arbitration agreements for your benefit. Our network of international offices is on hand to assist with complex cross border issues.

Terminating agents and distributors - We give practical advice before terminations to avoid or minimise compensation or indemnity claims. If terminations result in proceedings, our team will assist in resolving them as quickly and cost effectively as possible. 

Notable deals and highlights:

  • We are currently advising a manufacturer of stretch ceilings on its European distribution arrangements.
  • We are advising a US platform, allowing members to book different fitness classes at various venues, on the rollout of their business model in the Netherlands, Germany and France.
  • We are working with an iconic US retail brand on overhauling its network of selective distributors in Europe, making it more streamlined and focusing on quality and customer experience.
  • We are establishing a German joint venture for a US manufacturer in order to distribute pharmaceutical and medical devices in the EEA.
  • The team is providing comprehensive legal and regulatory advice to an Australian household appliance manufacturer on its market entry into the EU.
  • We are currently drafting and negotiating all types of distribution agreements for a leading global manufacturer of opto-digital technologies.
  • We act for a US manufacturer and distributor of car detailing products. We manage their global IP outside of North America and we have advised on their European sales strategy, including direct channels, distribution and agency. 

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