The Law and Regulation of Franchising in the EU

The Law and Regulation of Franchising in the EU

Elgar Intellectual Property Law and Practice series

Mark Abell

The Law and Regulation of Franchising in the EU provides an in-depth analysis of the regulatory environment for franchising in the EU. Franchising in the EU comprises nearly 10,000 franchised brands and over €215 billion (US$300 billion) turnover per annum. However, compared to its scale in the US and Australia, franchising is not realising its full potential in the EU and the author points to the lack of homogeneity across members states as a large part of the problem.


Mark Abell

Subjects: law - academic, commercial law, european law, intellectual property law, law -professional, commercial law, intellectual property law


There may be disagreement about whether a self-regulatory regime is more effective in preventing abuses than franchise-specific regulations. There may also be little empirical evidence to prove irrefutably that franchise-specific disclosure and relationship laws have reduced abuse, sharp practice, commercial failure or the number of franchise disputes. Nevertheless, the lack of a homog- eneous regulatory environment in the EU is a barrier to cross-border trade and there is no realistic chance of an EU-wide self-regulatory regime being adopted. Eight EU member states regulate franchising in distinctly different ways. There is also a significant difference in the way that non-franchise- specific laws impact upon franchising.1 This heterogeneity creates legal barriers to interstate trade within the EU. It is suggested that a regulatory environment comprising harmonised legal eco-systems in each member state would facilitate easier cross-border franchising in the EU. This certainly seems to be the view of those most actively involved in franchising in the EU on a day to day basis.2 The EU ‘set itself the goal of making its economy the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world'.

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