Agency, distributorships, licensing, franchising and manufacturing

Working with agents and distributors can be an exceptionally valuable way to get your products or services to reach a wider audience, and into new markets or territories. However, this area of business is highly regulated, and it is vital that you are aware of your obligations under the law, and that your agreements are tightly drafted.  It is also important that you protect the business you have built, by ensuring that your agency agreements, distributions agreements, or franchise agreements reflect the way in which you wish your products or services to be sole and ensure your business is protected.  Altmore Business Law can handle all aspects of agency and distribution agreements on your behalf, from advising on and drafting the agreements and the corporate structure in which they are set in the UK or across borders to handling any disputes should they arise. To discuss how our specialist business lawyers can help you, contact us today by calling 0845 094 9000.

What is the difference between an agency agreement and a distribution agreement?

If you are looking to establish an agency or distribution relationship, you may be unclear as to which model is best for your business. Agents act as an intermediary and are granted authority to enter into contracts on your behalf. The agent does not own the products or services, and the contract will be between your business and the end user. On the other hand, a distributor of your products or services will buy from you and sell on to their own customers. Market perception and confidence can be a deciding factor as much as legal preference. Distributorship invariably calls for greater capital and if exposure to ownership or cash flow is a worry then back to back agreements and put/call options will be crucial to your distribution arrangements. Our lawyers will be able to explain in more detail the benefits and drawbacks of each model used in the domestic or international market place, allowing you to make an informed decision as to which is best for your specific needs.

Agency Agreements

Agency agreements can be complex, and only a skilled and experienced lawyer will be able to craft and agency agreements which is bespoke to your business needs. There are a number of things to consider, such as: what the agents might have authority to do, should they vouch for the credit of the customer (del credere), should they operate on a disclosed or non-disclosed basis and the contractual implications, how much commission they should receive, and even whether an agency model is best for your business.  We will discuss all of these elements clearly and concisely, so you can be confident moving forward.

Distribution Agreements

Regulation around distribution agreements is stringent, both at UK and EU level.  The law prohibits agreements which restrict, distort or prevent market competition, and as such, it is vital to have the advice of a commercial contracts expert. Niche businesses, although not particularly large can be affected. Our solicitors can ensure that your distribution agreement is not only drafted in line with the competition rules, but also that it takes advantage of the numerous exceptions to the rules where appropriate.

Franchise Agreements

 If you have built a business which is significantly process driven and carries a certain amount of goodwill, it might be beneficial for you to begin franchising your business.  Franchising means that you, if the franchisor, may give the right to run a copy of your business to another entity and allows you to make a profit from royalty fees on the intellectual property of your business. If the franchisee, you are bestowed that right and in return for charges get off to a quicker start. The business should look identical to the franchisors but will be run by the franchisee. Although the franchisor will not be running the day-to-day business, s/he will still have legal obligations and liabilities. Importantly, the franchisee must run the operation to the standard the franchisor expects from its business.

Licencing Agreements

License agreements allow another party use of your intellectual property such as; patents, trademarks, copyrights, and other assets and personal rights subject to IP protections. Allowing another party to use your intellectual property rights has a number of benefits and can be very profitable for your business. However, it is vital that the licencing agreement is properly drafted to protect your valuable IP. Our experienced solicitors can help you to achieve a variety of business goals through licencing agreements including; expanding your business geographically, selling your business or business assets, or generating additional revenue through licencing IP.

Manufacturing Agreements

Manufacturing agreements allow you to have your products made to the desired specifications you need, whilst saving you time and money. This allows you to concentrate on growing your business, but you need to be confident that you are protected should anything go wrong. Our experienced solicitors can help ensure that your manufacturing agreement outlines;

  • Your goods will be delivered on time
  • The goods supplied meet your specifications
  • Which party is responsible for development of the product
  • Who owns the relevant intellectual property
  • How quickly the supplier must be able to increase or decrease production of the goods
  • Any obligations in terms of maximum or minimum purchase amounts.

To discuss your specific requirements with our solicitors, contact us today.

Contact our Agency and Distribution Agreements Lawyers Birmingham, London, Cambridge, Oakham, Nottingham & Leicester Today

Not only do we offer exceptional service, but also highly competitive fees for our services. Our specialist team members understand and appreciate your concerns, which is why our complementary services are designed to cover every aspect of agency, distribution, franchising, licencing and manufacturing. We pride ourselves on providing a comprehensive service of the highest quality, without the price tag of City firms. For an assessment of how our team can help you with your business requirements, contact us today by calling 0845 094 9000 or email chris.muris@altmorebusinesslaw.com and we will get back to you right away.

Simon Hunt CEO at Close.global

What was the job? Business critical legal contract with the largest IT distributor in Europe. Dynamics, American lawyer, trying to use German law. Altmore to guide us to a successful speedy conclusion.

Why the particular lawyer or firm chosen? Altmore was known to us through friends and by reputation. Altmore was chosen because the firm offered a flexible approach to its fees which when coupled with their grasp of the contract and reputation made this an easy decision.

What happened? Altmore engaged in a 1 hour “fact find” to orientate, grasped the key areas where the contract was biased in the other side’s favour and negotiated with the other side’s lawyer a swift conclusion. Can’t recommend them highly enough. We will default to using Altmore going forward.