The law firm advises international and national clients on German and EU franchise law. It represents clients (also form abroad) in disputes arising in connection with franchise agreements under EU and German law before German courts – nationwide.
Both the classic subordination franchising and the newer partnership franchising often include intellectual property rights as an essential element. This may involve, for example, formal industrial property rights such as a trademark, know-how and/or the use of software protected by copyright or patent. IP law is thus an essential component of franchise law.
It is true that franchising agreements regularly go beyond the mere permission to use such rights. In most cases, the franchise agreement also contains instruction and control rights as well as distribution obligations, which integrate the franchisee into a system organization. Thus, strictly speaking, a franchise agreement is not a license agreement.
However, franchise agreements are often referred to as license agreements if the licensing of the property right (especially a trademark) is in the foreground. A franchise agreement may also consist of a combination of license and know-how elements.
When negotiating and drafting franchise agreements, it makes sense to also and in particular have intellectual property law and any associated antitrust regulations examined by a lawyer. Depending on the type of franchise agreement in question, it may therefore be advisable to consult a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property law in the first instance, but who is also familiar with the other aspects of franchise law.
The same applies if performance problems or breaches of contract occur in the context of an already existing contractual franchising relationship. In practice, disputes concerning the termination of a contract take precedence. In all these cases, it is regularly advisable to consult a lawyer at an early stage.