Questions about franchising and the law
In this section, experts answer the questions most commonly asked about the legal requirements and stumbling blocks for franchisors and franchisees.
Are franchisees given protected rights to an exclusive territory or an exclusive group of customers?
Marketing ties, as far as a territory or a group of customers are concerned, are, in principle, forbidden. Above all, franchisees may not be forbidden to carry out passive marketing, which also includes for example e-commerce via the Internet. They must be allowed to deliver goods or provide services to customers who approach a franchisee themselves without being asked.
In contrast, marketing ties are permitted in exceptional circumstances if they can be justified for reasons of safety or health. Furthermore, a franchisee can be forbidden to carry out active marketing activities in a territory or among a group of customers that the franchisor has reserved for himself or reserved exclusively for another franchisee. The following is considered to be ‘active marketing’:
- actively approaching customers in an area owned by another franchisee, e.g. by mail/e-mail, telephone or via fieldworkers
- actively approaching customers in an area owned by another franchisee by placing advertisements or using other advertising measures which are specifically targeted at the group of customers in the area