Distribution Law – Legally Sound, Flexible, and Forward-Looking Agreements

Michael RainerManaging Partner, MTR Rechtsanwälte

The sale of goods and services requires an efficient distribution system that complies with complex domestic and international legal frameworks.

An efficient distribution network is a key component of a company’s economic success, with different distribution channels for goods and services depending on the company’s industry. Legally sound collaboration with distribution partners based on mutual trust is a prerequisite for an efficient distribution system. Authorized dealers, commercial agents, franchise systems, selective distribution systems, and also increasingly online distribution, play an important role.

As important as partnerships based on mutual trust are in distribution law, it is equally crucial to comply with the various complex legal requirements in connection with both the domestic as well as the international distribution of goods. As such, it is also necessary to take account of antitrust and competition rules. We at MTR Rechtsanwälte can serve as a single interdisciplinary source of advice to our clients, ensuring their distributions systems are the best fit for them and placing them on a solid legal footing.

The rights and obligations of distribution partners ought to be set out in contracts in as much detail as possible. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic is putting lots of existing business relationships through their paces, it not being possible in many cases to deliver goods or open for business.

As a rule, the parties must honor the contractual commitments they have entered into. While it is possible to be released from the obligation to perform on account of force majeure or the inability to render the agreed contractual services, the directives issued by the authorities in response to the coronavirus pandemic do not give the parties carte blanche in this respect. Should the restrictions imposed by the government remain in place for some time to come, consideration could be given to whether the basis on which the contracts were concluded has been undermined. If so, it might be possible to amend or even terminate the contracts.

The crisis surrounding the coronavirus has made it abundantly clear that partnerships according to distribution law ought to be resilient, flexible, and forward looking. For this reason, the structure of distribution networks should be reviewed and optimized on a regular basis.

Lawyers with experience in the field of distribution law can provide complex legal services from a single source.


Contributing Advisors

Marc KlaasLawyer (Rechtsanwalt), MTR Rechtsanwälte