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Germany

Partners

Updated 07/2012

Legal requirements

Different laws may be applicable to collaborations with business partners, such as:

Types of collaboration

Franchise, franchising or franchise system

Franchising is a distribution system in which a franchisor (a business at the head of a network) grants legally autonomous franchisees the right to trade products or services using the system name, trade mark, service mark or other industrial property rights or copyrights. Both the franchisor and the franchisee remain legally and financially separate and independent entities, i.e. they operate in their own name and on their own account. However, the franchisor has certain powers of instruction that allow him to enforce compliant behaviour. A franchise system is a cooperative distribution system based on the division of labour and has a vertical structure. However, the franchisor has certain powers of instruction that allow it to enforce compliant behaviour.

In Germany, setting up a franchise system is governed by the general regulations on business start-ups. There is no specific franchise law.

Cooperative

‘Cooperative’ is a collective term for groupings of legally and economically autonomous businesses for the purposes of business-to-business cooperation by setting up supporting cooperative centres. Collaboration can involve acquisitions, sales, investment and finance as well as administration. Supporting cooperative centres mostly take the legal form of a cooperative society, limited liability company (GmbH) or public limited company (AG). Cooperatives may include buying associations of wholesalers and retailers, crafts and the service sector as well as voluntary chains.

Cooperative centres, in addition to assisting their members, often also specifically run their own businesses, so-called publicly owned enterprises, especially retail. Cooperative centres also act increasingly as franchisors within franchise systems.

Other options for expanding your business are taking over an existing one, merging with another company or opening a branch in another EU country.

Resources

On the subject “Finding Franchise Systems” the German Franchise Union (DFV) has an online offer for franchisees.

In order to facilitate the process of business succession, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, together with associations, institutions and organisations involved in commerce, banking and the liberal professions, has launched the ‘nexxt’ initiative.  The ‘nexxt’ internet portal is the central point of contact for all entrepreneurs seeking to relinquish or take over a business. The portal is also home to 'nexxtchange', which helps interested parties find either a successor or a seller.

Various networks and a host of facilities in the form of databases and international contact platforms are available in Germany to support German-based entrepreneurs in finding business partners in other countries and vice-versa.

Specific platforms for foreign investors seeking business partners in Germany:

Help & advice

Help & advice

Chambers of Industry and Commerce carry out different cooperation, investor and technology exchanges, to find business partners.

The European Business Register (EBR) is a service covering 16 European countries – it provides reliable official data from each country’s national trade register. Companies can use it, for example, to obtain details of their European business partners.

E-mail a business organisation near you

The EU runs a network (Enterprise Europe Network) of local business organisations in most European countries that may be able to help you.

Choose your country and town and enter your enquiry below.

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