University of Montpellier Centre de Droit de l'Entreprise (Montpellier)

Nicolas Ferrier

University of Montpellier, Centre de Droit de l’Entreprise (Montpellier)

Nicolas Ferrier, professor at the University of Montpellier, runs the Master of Distribution and Business contracts Law. He has co-authored a book of Distribution law (Lexisnexis editions) and contributes to the annotation of the Commercial Code (Lexisnexis editions). He’s editorial director of the monthly Distribution Newsletter, published by the Centre du Droit de l’Entreprise of Montpellier. He leads the team in charge for the Commercial Practices Study Commission (CEPC) of the annual review of the jurisprudence related to restrictive competitive practices.

Linked authors

Champollion University (Albi)
University of Montpellier
University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne
University of Montpellier
University of Montpellier


14461 Review

Nicolas Ferrier Online sales : The Pau Court of Appeal rules that the franchisee could not demand, in response to the closure of his store to the public during the Covid crisis, that he be allowed to sell online, since such sales were prohibited by the contract during the first year of operation (Runn / Beynel et fils)


SAS Runn (the franchisor) has set up a franchise network based on a concept for the sale of sporting goods around the world of running. In 2019, it signed a franchise agreement with SASU Beynel et Fils (the franchisee) to set up a running store in the shopping mall of a Super U supermarket. (...)

Nicolas Ferrier Franchise: The Toulouse Court of Appeal assesses, in the light of the circumstances, the content and performance of the franchisor’s cooperation and assistance obligations (Dietales / Naturhouse)


SAS Naturhouse (the Franchisor) heads a network of stores operating under the "Naturhouse" brand, whose concept is based on free in-store consultations with a dietician and the sale of products, notably food supplements, under its own brand name. Some forty franchisees sued the Franchisor (...)

Nicolas Ferrier Obligation to inform: The Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal criticises the franchisor for not having sufficiently informed the franchisee about the purpose of the territorial exclusivity it had granted him (Comme Ulysse)


Mr. NC signed a franchise agreement with Ulysse, a company specializing in the transportation of handicapped persons under the eponymous name, for the eastern part of the Oise department. of the Oise department. According to article 3-1 of the contract, the franchisee benefits, for the (...)

Nicolas Ferrier Severance payment: The French Supreme Court reverses its position by refusing that the agent’s serious misconduct committed before the termination of a contract but discovered afterwards takes away his right to severance pay (Acopal / Paniers Terdis)


Three recent rulings deserve a grouped commentary because they allow us to revisit the conditions of the agent’s termination indemnity. In the first case (Cass. com., Nov. 16, 2022, no. 21-17.423: Lettre distr. déc. 2022, note S. Brena; JCP E 2023, 1004, note Ph. Grignon), the principal (...)

Nicolas Ferrier Serious misconduct: The French Supreme Court specifies that the violation by an agent of an approval clause characterizes an unfair conduct constituting a serious misconduct (Signa déco) (Bystronic)


In two judgments handed down on the same day, the Court of Cassation clarified the sanction for the violation of an intuitu personae clause in a commercial agency contract (Cass. com., June 29, 2022, no. 20-13.228 and no. 20-11.952: Lettre distr. juillet 2022, obs. A. Louvet; JCP E 2022, 959, (...)

Nicolas Ferrier Operating conditions: The Rouen Court of Appeal allows that the modification by a franchisor of the type of products marketed by a franchisee (Saveurs et Gourmandes e.a. / Coffea)


The ability of the franchisor to impose on franchisees the franchisee to change the terms of the business is a delicate question, revealing a tension between, on the one hand the franchisor’s freedom to develop his network the franchisor’s freedom to develop his network and his duty to (...)

Nicolas Ferrier The power of the promoter to evolve its distribution network


Since the promoter of a distribution network is free to organise its network as it sees fit, subject mainly to compliance with the competition rules, one could be tempted, by a kind of parallelism of forms, to adopt the same analysis when it comes to developing its network. However, this (...)

Nicolas Ferrier Commercial agency: The French Court of Appeal of Bourges considers that the principal cannot claim, after the notification of the termination of the contract, a serious fault, even if committed before, to escape the payment of the termination indemnity (Maisto Firtion Marie-Amelierg)


A commercial agent was ordered to stop coming to the agency, as the principal considered him responsible for the bad atmosphere within the real estate agency. The principal then notified the agent of the immediate termination of the contract, without notice or termination indemnity as provided (...)

Nicolas Ferrier Know-how: The Paris Court of Appeal considers that the franchisor is not obliged to make a technological development available to franchisees if it is not part of the know-how (Sushi Nanterre e.a. / Groupe Planète Sushi)


The GPS company operates and develops, in franchise and branch, a network of restaurants under the Planet Sushi brand. As such, it provides franchisees with an online ordering website, for the benefit of which the latter must accept the general conditions of use and pay a monthly subscription (...)

Emmanuelle Claudel, Nicolas Ferrier, Patrice Bougette, Frédéric Marty, Florence Ninane, Noemie Bomble, Irène Luc, Andreas Mundt, Olivier Guersent, Marion Carbo, Charlotte Colin-Dubuisson, Sima Ostrovsky, David-Julien dos Santos Goncalves Perspectives on the proposed reform of the Vertical Restraints Regulation and its Guidelines


The On-Topic aims to present a range of views on the European Commission’s proposed reform of the Vertical Restraints Regulation and its Guidelines. The contributors are representatives of the European Commission and competition authorities, practitioners, legal researchers and economists. (...)

Nicolas Ferrier Non-competition obligation: The Agen Court of Appeal recalls the freedom of principle of the franchisor to develop a brand competing with the one already in place (Starter 84 / Cycom International)


A franchise agreement for the operation, under the name "Moto-Bis", of an outlet specialising in motorcycle equipment was concluded between CYCOM ["the franchisor"] and Starter 84 ["the franchisee"]. Reproaching the franchisor for having, on the occasion of the takeover of the competing (...)

Nicolas Ferrier Commercial agency: The French Supreme Court revisits the concept of power to negotiate (Fructidoc / Esteban Espuna France ; Agence pour l’agroalimentaire / Fresh Food Village)


In two judgments (on which, see S. Brena, Lettre distr. Mars 2021), the Court of Cassation denied the status of commercial agent to an intermediary without the power to conclude and negotiate the contractual prices and conditions on behalf of his principal. The solutions, which must be put in (...)

Nicolas Ferrier Exclusive distribution: The French Civil Supreme Court recalls the rules and burden of proof for the restrictive effect of a territorial exclusivity clause on competition (Tesmec / Eurofor)


In 2004, Tesmec signed a four-year contract with Eurofor for the exclusive distribution of trenchers and spare parts in France, tacitly renewable for the same period. Article 7 of the contract provides that either party may terminate it with one year’s notice before the renewal date, giving (...)

Nicolas Ferrier Distribution agreement: The French Supreme Court interprets a clause in a distribution contract granting the distributor a right of priority in the event that it is located near a new point of sale proposed by the supplier, and rules on its violation (Hexa plus santé / Thalys Médical)


In 2006 and 2008, the company Talys subscribed, in 2006 and 2008, two contracts of membership to the distribution network of medical products under the name "La Vitrine médicale", constituted by the company Hexa, in order to operate two sales outlets located in Sevrier and Aix-les-Bains. (...)

Nicolas Ferrier Franchise: The French Supreme Court and the Paris Court of Appeal consider that the franchisor or licensor is not required, by virtue of its duty to assist, to renegotiate terms of the agreement to remedy the distributor’s economics difficulties (Steelcase / Diapason ; Bourgoin Spirit / Esprit corps de France...)


A number of recent decisions call for a review of the obligation on network promoters to assist their distributors faced with economic difficulties. While this issue presents obvious practical challenges, it raises more fundamental questions about the legal approach to contractual (...)

Nicolas Ferrier Commercial agency: The French Supreme Court and the Paris and Chambery Courts of Appeal specify the conditions under which serious misconduct on the part of the commercial agent excludes indemnity for termination (Cerba...)


According to Article L. 134-13 of the Commercial Code, the commercial agent loses the right to severance pay provided for in Article L. 134-12 in the event of, inter alia, serious misconduct. The exception raises questions relating in particular to the conditions under which such misconduct, (...)

Nicolas Ferrier Selective distribution: The Paris Court of Appeal considers, by a concrete examination, that running a brick-and-mortar store is a lawful criterion to be imposed to candidates to a selective distribution network (Concurrence / Samsung)


The Internet is testing selective distribution networks (see not. L. Vogel, Réseaux contre plates-formes : la distribution sélective à l’épreuve de l’internet, in Études en l’honneur du professeur Jérôme Huet, LGDJ 2017, p. 401), and regularly raises questions about the balance to be struck (...)

Nicolas Ferrier Franchise: The Paris Court of Appeal clarifies the concept of distribution network to appreciate the scope of a non-competition clause stipulated in a franchise agreement (International Esthetique / Vogazur, Cleha Beauté)


The term distribution "network", although common in practice and present in certain provisions (not. com. C., art. L. 146-1; art. L. 330-3 and L. 341-1), is not the subject of any legal definition. The concept remains delicate to grasp, even though it presents real practical issues, (...)

Nicolas Ferrier Refusal to select: The Paris and Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal confirm the freedom to select in selective distribution system (Concurrence / Sony Europe)(Chaumet International / L’Hermine)


Two recent rulings by the Courts of Appeal of Paris and Aix-en-Provence recall the freedom of selection of the developer of a selective distribution network. In the judgment of 12 December 2018, a distributor (company C.) had been in a relationship with Sony for many years, until the (...)

Nicolas Ferrier Franchise: The French Supreme Court confirms that franchisors are free to reorganize their distribution network and not to renew the contracts concluded with franchisees (CMB Méditerranée / Foncia...)


In eight judgments rendered on the same day (on which, see also N. Ereseo, Lettre distr. oct. 2018), the Court of Cassation largely confirmed the solution rendered by the Court of Appeal of Versailles in a dispute between the promoter of a real estate agency network structured around a (...)

Nicolas Ferrier Absence of territorial exclusivity: The French Supreme Court rules that without territorial exclusivity granted to the franchisee, the franchisor is not compelled to inform its franchisee of its decision to set up new franchisees on its physical trading area (Casino France)


In the context of a dispute between a franchisee under the Spar name and its franchisor, the former, which did not enjoy any territorial exclusivity, terminated the contract, accusing the latter in particular of having breached its duty of loyalty by not informing it of the installation of (...)

Nicolas Ferrier Transfer of client base: The Paris Court of Appeal cancels the post-contractual non-compete clause provided in a franchise agreement because of its incompatibility with the franchisor’s agreement to transfer its clients to the franchisee (Eclade, Esole, Main Street, Erwan Flatres, Cle Anglaise, Success Story, Success Story le Mans / Bernard et Nicolas Soinne, Educational Programs Master France)


The judgment under comment is curious, both in terms of the situation which is its argument and in terms of the solution which it seems to enshrine. The situation was the result of two agreements concluded between a master franchisee and certain franchisees of the network it had created. (...)

Francois Chénedé, Nicolas Ferrier, Sarah Bros, Simon Hotte From the contractual abuse sanction to the sanction of restrictive practices of competition (Towards a new competition law?, Lyon, May 28th, 2015)


The conference that took place in Lyon on May 28th 2015 dealt with the future of competition law. The speakers of this panel got back to the strong link between unfair competition behaviors against professionals and those against consumers. Particularly, Sarah Bros and François Chénedé got (...)



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