Trade, distribution and logistics in Germany
Baker McKenzie's Commercial & Trade team led by Ulf Wauschkuhn is one of the market leaders in contract and distribution law matters, most notably for projects with international reach. Due to this multijurisdictional reach, its client portfolio includes a number of world-renowned companies with a focus on automotive, fashion and insurance companies. Wauschkuhn covers the full spectrum of commercial law and advises on the establishment and restructuring of distribution systems. The trend area of online sales is predominately handled by Katharina Spenner, while Johannes Teichmann has particular expertise in sales agent and distributor contracts involving an international dimension. The practice also assists clients with distribution litigation alongside out-of-court disputes.
‘Katharina Spenner ist technically excellent and outstanding on a personal level – the collaboration is very much a pleasure. Particularly noteworthy are her great negotiation skills.’
‘Apart from quality, speed and reliability, Johannes Teichmann and Associate Ingmar Oltmanns convince especially with practical relevance and -suitability of the advice.’
‘Johannes Teichmann possesses technical know-how of the highest level in combination with the ability to implement it in a profitable manner, in contracts as well as in proceedings.’
MAN Truck & Bus
- Legal representation of Rimowa in proceedings concerning distribution law at the Regional and Higher Regional Court in Cologne and in a dispute regarding a delivery contract.
- Advice to Amer Sports on matters of contract and distribution law with regards to the brands Salomon, Wilson, Atomic and Suunto.
- Advised Esprit on different matters of contract law, amongst other things on the conclusion of a new service contract for the operative running of the online shop.
CMS excels in commercial and distribution law, benefiting from individual sector focuses within its team, and in its successfully expanded offering in matters at the intersection with TMC and IP. Team head Gerald Gräfe is particularly well versed in automotive sector work and advises clients on matters along the entire value chain, from supplier to end-consumer contracts, and on matters pertaining to digital vehicle marketing in particular. Robert Budde specialises in the implementation and restructuring of distribution systems, while Peter Endres predominately acts for clients from the consumer goods industry. The team has also increasingly been dealing with Brexit-related matters and the trending topic digitalisation.
‘The team fields outstanding specialist knowledge and applies a business-oriented way of thinking. Lawyers meet with clients on an equal footing as a business partner, not as an advisor. ‘
‘All lawyers display considerable motivation and are committed to the client’s business success.’
‘Great advice thanks to a close connection between commercial and IP teams.’
‘Reliable, top quality, quick assistance, very practical answers, which can be used as such internally. Focus on the relevant problems, entrepreneurial thinking, appropriate hourly rates and calculated hours.‘
‘Hans-Clemens Köhne has excellent knowledge of distribution and competition law as well as excellent sector expertise. His pragmatic and business-oriented way of thinking allows for successful results within a short time frame and a reasonable amount of work hours. His IP knowledge further complements his excellent advice.’
‘Dr Gerald Gräfe (Stuttgart): Distribution, general commercial law. Top advisor, quick, to the point, professionally outstanding, creative.‘
‘Christoph Zarth (Hamburg): Logistics. Always thinks a few steps ahead, gives realistic advice, is creative and pragmatic, and professionally excellent.‘
Honeywell International Inc.
Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG
Gardena – Husqvarna Group
Onkyo & Pioneer
Alfred Kärcher SE & Co. KG
Birkenstock GmbH & Co. KG
INEOS Manufacturing Deutschland GmbH
- Advice to the French multinational Catering- and motorway service station-supplier Elior on the conclusion of a franchise and development cooperation contract with the franchiser gastro & system GmbH.
- Ongoing advice to Gardena on matters of contract and distribution law as well as on product compliance.
- Advice and review concerning the new franchise contracts for Segafredo Deutschland.
The commercial and distribution law team at Hogan Lovells International LLP fully incorporates digitalisation and globalisation aspects into its offering, which leads to regular instructions on various current issues such as e-commerce, 3D printing and autonomous driving. Its full-service offering and international cooperation are among the practice's key features. The team handles a diverse mix of sectors but focuses on automotive industry work, which is an area of particular expertise for team head Patrick Ayad. Florian Unseld focuses on the logistics, consumer and industrial goods sectors and provides advice on the full remit of commercial, distribution and consumer protection law. Counsel Sebastian Schnell has particular expertise in contract projects and contract negotiations. The diverse team also has specific sector knowledge in energy, chemical, pharmaceutical and medicine alongside media and information technology.
‘The inclusion of foreign offices in certain topics appears to the point and legal feedbacks are very well comprehensible.’
‘The team has very good industry knowledge and develops practically feasible solutions.’
‘Patrick Ayad has a clear vision of the client’s expectations and acts accordingly. He includes, where necessary, colleagues from other areas of expertise and offers advice all in one go.’
‘Patrick Ayad is particularly competent and dedicates himself to the topic.’
British American Tobacco
Ford of Europe
Hyundai and Kia
- Advised two car manufacturers on several innovative procurement models in the sectors of car- and mobility products as well as services.
- Restructuring of the distribution network in Europe for Daimler in the course of the electrification of the smart brand in 2020.
- Regular comprehensive advice to Wacker on different commercial contracts and matters of distribution, including advice on contracts and regulations.
In order to meet the challenges brought by digitalisation in commercial and distribution law, Noerr's Digital Business Group has pooled its expertise and is led by Karl Rauser, who also heads the distribution systems practice. The widely experienced team assists clients from various sectors with a wide range of matters, from the development and implementation of innovative business models to the development and expansion of suitable purchasing, distribution and logistics systems. Albin Ströbl is noted for his automotive and mobility sector expertise alongside his illustrious client portfolio, while Tom Billing is particularly experienced in the banking and finance industry. Handling matters at various intersections is another key element of the practice: Franchise expert Karsten Metzlaff frequently handles complex distribution antitrust law matters and associate Cathrin Wentzel plays an important role in the automotive practice group, specialising in supply contracts and relationships.
Other key lawyers:
‘Despite the technical quality, which is self-evident, Felix Muhl is characterised by great commitment, motivation and reliability.’
Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH frequently works with associations when, for example, handling textile and clothing industry work, which is an area of particular expertise for the team and frequently handled by Christoph von Burgsdorff. As another key element, the practice led by Volker Steimle, who acts in cross-border transactions and disputes, is also experienced in the logistics arena: As well as providing advice on logistics outsourcings and major logistics projects, it also deals with the complete restructuring of logistics chains. Anne Wegner has excellent expertise in the automotive sector as well as in the distribution of chemicals, and represents logistics clients before antitrust authorities and in contract negotiations. Frank Gutsche acts for many medium-sized companies on an ongoing basis and advises their foreign counterparts on entering the German market.
‘Luther possesses very good interconnected areas of expertise with high detailed knowledge of trading- and distribution law.’
‘The practice has built up industry know-how in the textile- and clothing industry and its specific requirements, especially with regards to the increasingly more important aspects of sustainability and the reference to environmental law and product liability.’
‘Volker Steimle designs contracts within a short amount of time, goal- and needs-based.’
‘Steffen Gaber offers proactive, well-founded, fast and precise counselling and is very well prepared for demands from legal departments.’
TE Connectivity (Tyco Electronics)
Heinrich Georg Maschinenfabrik
H. Stoll AG & Co. KG
Bausparkasse Schwäbisch Hall AG
SL Rasch GmbH
VAUDE Sport GmbH & Co. KG
Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG
Extrude Hone GmbH
- Review and negotiations of trade documents regarding the introduction of a driverless transport system for Alfred Kärcher.
- Support to the Gemeinnützige Werkstätten und Wohnstätten GmbH on the product launch and development of a new national and international trader network for the e-bike XCYC.
- Comprehensive advice to the Søstrene Grene Import A/S on its market entry in Germany and the development of a branch-network throughout the whole of Germany, as well as support in Austria and Switzerland.
Osborne Clarke's distribution law team led by Carsten Dau primarily acts at the intersection between distribution, data protection, e-commerce, IP and antitrust law, making it well equipped to handle various current issues such as data-based individualised pricing and the monetisation of user-generated data. Cross-border projects and international cooperation are part of it's day-to-day business, particularly when advising brand manufacturers. Uwe Brossette specialises in the design and expansion of complex distribution systems and counts companies from the retail and automotive sectors among his clients. Consumer goods and plant construction sector work is handled by Dau, who stands out for his expertise in the structuring of distribution systems.
Other key lawyers:
- Support to the Volkswagen and Audi partner network in negotiations regarding the new business model of the VW group.
- Intensive advice and negotiations on behalf of the association of Toyota and Lexus traders in Germany with the Toyota Deutschland GmbH on changes to the dealership contract.
- Strategic and legal advice to the joint venture of an energy supplier and manufacturer of charging solutions for electric vehicles on the development of a business model for a charging infrastructure.
Taylor Wessing is increasingly focusing on international cooperation and international mandates with particular geographic emphasis on China, Brazil and Italy. With Martin Rothermel in the lead, the team has consumer and manufactured goods sales at its core and demonstrates particular strength in contractual matters. Rothermel also represents clients in contentious proceedings and frequently acts as arbitrator. Peter Hofbauer is the main contact for automotive sector work and acts for well-known manufacturers and automotive suppliers. Sonja Ackermann is also well versed in this sector and particularly experienced in leasing contracts and mobility services. Product liability expert Heiko Franke left the firm in February 2019 to work independently, and long-standing partner Alf Aretz retired the previous month.
‘Peter Hofbauer is brilliant since he assesses a situation thoroughly from all angles, so that absolutely all possible and impossible risks are showing, to then present a very pragmatic made-to-measure solution. Incredible in how many directions and how out-of-the-box his thinking is.’
‘Sonja Ackermann can immerse herself quickly into complex topics, to then offer a fantastic implementation equally fast, and all that with ease and freshness. She is a true genius.’
- Comprehensive advice to Suzuki on commercial and distribution law e.g. the advice on cooperation contracts, terms and conditions for purchases and sales, dealership contracts, supply contracts as well as support in legal disputes.
The commercial team at DLA Piper acts for clients along the entire value chain. The practice led by Thilo von Bodungen stands out for its attention to the clients' operating business and coordinates matters that require interdisciplinary cooperation. As well as its chemical, aviation and mechanical engineering sector work, it also handles consumer goods and retail industry matters. Von Bodungen is also well versed in contract law and advises on joint ventures and outsourcing. Automotive expert Sylvia Ebersberger, who focuses on providing assistance with transformation processes and innovation projects, made partner in May 2019.
Thilo von Bodungen
Other key lawyers:
Sylvia Ebersberger; Susanne Weckbach
‘The commercial practice of DLA Piper is characterised by fast response times, excellent legal advice and client-oriented service.’
‘Very experienced and well balanced team on all matters of distribution law and purchase contract rights, but also on matters of product liability and general commercial law.’
‘Thilo von Bodungen and Silke Goschler are outstanding solicitors, who immerse themselves in complex scenarios and give practical and usable legal advice. Their qualities, in particular regarding contract design, are excellent.’
‘Thilo von Bodungen possesses a wealth of experience and excellent skills regarding all matters of distribution law and purchase contract rights. The specific purchase- and distribution processes of the company are understood immediately and are reflected in the contractual clauses according to the client’s wishes.’
Bauer Media Group
EWE Vertrieb GmbH
Sixt Leasing SE
- Drafting of sample contracts for EWE Vetrieb GmbH concerning the purchase and construction of photovoltaic systems.
- Ongoing advice to Shure on its worldwide distribution system and on all commercial matters.
- Comprehensive advice to Sixt Leasing in the course of the whole operative side of business, including the drafting of the contract documentation, advice regarding the approach on online ordering processes and the implementation of new business models.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advises on novel distribution law matters pertaining to the digital transformation of business models, while also handling contentious proceedings, including those arising from the termination of dealer and importer relationships. Team head Rolf Trittmann, who also heads the automotive sector group, has a specialism in large-scale plant engineering.
Friedrich Graf von Westphalen & Partner
Friedrich Graf von Westphalen & Partner's distribution law practice has a clear focus on international work with its services spanning all distribution types, including contentious matters, but focuses on distribution type selection and contractual issues. Additionally, the team led by Hendrik Thies has an excellent niche in the designer furniture sector. Co-head Sven Köhnen has traditionally been particularly focused on automotive sector work, primarily advising dealers, but has also become increasingly active for clients from the insurance and financial services sectors.
Sven Köhnen; Hendrik Thies
‘The team offers comprehensive advice on complex legal cases, where trade-, civil- and administrative law coincide.’
‘Hendrik Thies combines several areas of law in complex cases and has expedient negotiating tactics.’
Autohaus am Westbahnhof GmbH
Mitsubishi Motors Deutschland
MMD Automobile GmbH
Europäischer Mercedes-Benz Händlerverband
Otto Ganter GmbH & Co. KG
Propan Rheingas GmbH & Co KG
RPC Bramlage GmbH
Verband der Hyundai Vertragspartner Deutschland e.V.
Verband der KIA-Händler und KIA-Servicepartner Deutschland e.V.
Benefiting from its full-service approach, Gleiss Lutz is able to handle a wide range of large-scale mandates. The team provides comprehensive advice on national and international trade and distribution structures with a focus on the development and revision of distribution systems. Its high-profile client portfolio reflects the team's particular expertise in the automotive, manufacturing and healthcare sectors. Eric Wagner and Ulrich Denzel jointly head the team.
Eric Wagner; Ulrich Denzel
Graf von Westphalen
Graf von Westphalen handles the full spectrum of distribution law work with a focus on commercial agent law, insurance distribution law, authorised dealer law, motor vehicle dealer law and franchise law. Team head Raimond Emde has an excellent reputation in handling matters at the intersection with insurance law and regularly acts in international arbitration. Other key elements include motor vehicle distribution matters and most notably motorhome and caravan industry issues.
Other key lawyers:
- Beteiligung am Verkauf der Rechtsschutzsparte durch die Mandantin Alte Leipziger an die Itzehoer Versicherung.
Haver & Mailänder Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft mbB's synergies with its distribution antitrust law, data protection and arbitration practices enables the trade and distribution law team to handle matters at these intersections, while it also stands out for its cross-border capabilities. The appointment of Christian Aufdermauer, who specialises in trade and distribution law, as practice head in mid 2019 underlines this approach. Alexander Hübner predominately acts in public law matters and frequently handles public procurement law issues. Its client portfolio includes, among others, automotive suppliers, medical device manufacturers and food producers alongside companies from the mechanical engineering and textile sectors.
Other key lawyers:
‘The combination of excellent legal know-how and a deep business understanding leads to the best legal solutions that are practicable and strongly encourage business success. Legal tasks are resolved with high personal commitment, a great sense of proportion for what is possible and high levels of creativity.’
‘Hans-Georg Kauffeld does not only impress with his knowledge but also with his creativity in drafting practicable solutions.’
‘Hans-Georg Kauffeld completes even complex tasks with high precision, within a very short time frame and always at the agreed time.’
‘Hans-Georg Kauffeld has an exceptional business sense. His outstanding personality is a benefit on all levels — thanks to his calm manner and sense of proportion, he finds the best solutions, be it in a legal dispute or in preliminary negotiations.’
‘Beate Bruckmaier persistently pursues the best possible solution as well as the optimal result in light of our interests.’
Amann & Söhne GmbH & Co. KG
- Development of new distribution contracts and construction of a new distribution company in the Czech Republic for MTD Products.
- Advice to all branches of Remondis in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bavaria on the marketing of disposal services in the private and public sector (procurement law) and commercial enterprises.
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek's distribution law team is led by Reinhardt Siegert and predominately acts for manufacturers but also advises a number of selected distributors. The practice maintains a large number of long-standing client relationships, particularly in the chemical, mechanical engineering and automotive sectors, including key names such as Audi. Siegert is the main contact for matters at the intersection with antitrust law, while Martin Reufels specialises in contract law issues. Martin Imhof has increasingly been dealing with matters pertaining to international trade relations and Thorsten Wieland handles IP aspects in the commercial and distribution law space.
‘The team always responds fast and gives good advice on commercial negotiations with suppliers.’
‘Thomas Jansen is outstanding.’
Eisenwerk Brühl GmbH
Renault Deutschland AG
Advising suppliers in the automotive sector constitutes the key element of Bird & Bird's distribution law team. With Christian Kessel and Matthias Spilker in the lead, the team advises clients on matters along the entire commercial chain, from bidding procedures to contract drafting and product liability matters. In May 2019, the practice increased its partner bench strength by elevating Philipp Egler (Frankfurt) and Lars Kyrberg (Hamburg) to the partnership.
Christian Kessel; Matthias Spilker
Dayco Products LLC
Fuyao Glass America Inc.
Kautex Textron GmbH & Co. KG
TenneT Offshore GmbH
- Out-of-court advice to Cooper Standard in the course of a case of damage with a logistics company.
- Advice to Dayco Products on standard contracts of a large German original equipment manufacturer. Out-of-court advice in a case of product liability.
- Advice to Fuyao Glass on defending a warranty case against a tier-1-supplier in two possible jurisdictions; arbitration procedure in Finland and legal proceedings in Poland.
Clifford Chance demonstrates particular strength in the implementation of complex distribution structures on a global scale and advises on specialised distribution agreements. The team led by Gunnar Sachs also has solid regulatory expertise as well as knowledge across various sectors and is able to draw upon a network spanning several jurisdictions. Sachs has a specialism in healthcare, life sciences and consumer goods. Handling matters in cooperation with the firm's solid antitrust law group led by Marc Besen is another key element of the practice and leads to regular instructions on distribution antitrust issues.
Other key lawyers:
Marc Besen; Michael Dietrich
‘Excellent expertise, very good response times and commercial thinking are making the team of Clifford Chance stand out.’
Pfizer Consumer Healthcare
- Assessment of the market conditions for online and offline sales in the course of advice on merger control law to Douglas.
- Ongoing compliance advice to REWE on negotiations with brand manufacturers and matters of category management.
- Ongoing advice to Pfizer Consumer Healthcare on the distribution of pharmaceutical, medicinal and food products.
Eversheds Sutherland focuses on the development and restructuring of distribution systems, particularly in the franchise space, as well as on the enforcement and defence of claims in contract, liability and commercial disputes. Co-team head Alexander Niethammer primarily assists clients in the automotive, technology and e-commerce sectors with distribution contracts and distribution channels, while co-head Joos Hellert puts his focus on franchising work in the consumer goods and food sectors.
Alexander Niethammer; Joos Hellert
- Ongoing advice to the French luxury brand corporation Kering Group with regards to so-called fast fashion, with the aim to review individual jurisdictions in Europe and to develop a strategy to counteract the so-called fast growing fashion with group-owned brand manufacturers such as Gucci and Saint Laurent.
- Legal representation of Burger King in several disputes with franchise companies in Germany and other European countries.
- Advice to Resysta on developing a worldwide distribution system and licensing model for a sustainable replacement material for wood.
GÖRG Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten mbB covers all matters pertaining to the sale of goods and services. Led by Christoph Siefarth, the team predominately acts in distribution law with a focus on distribution agreements and international distribution systems. Florian Schmitz has a specialism in outsourcing and Oliver Spieker handles matters at the intersection with IP.
‘Expertise and a point of contact for all business situations, many years of trust and a good understanding of our business by now.’
‘Oliver Spieker and Harald Ick are excellent specialists in their respective fields. Top-quality work.’
Oppenhoff & Partner
Oppenhoff & Partner covers the full spectrum of traditional commercial and distribution law. The team led by Marc Hilber advises on contract drafting alongside dispute resolution along the value-added chain and puts particular focus on distribution law. It covers a wide range of sectors but has particular expertise in the luxury consumer goods industry. Simon Spangler, who made partner in 2019, is a key contact for matters at the intersection with distribution antitrust law, while the practice's instructions also require cooperation with partners from other practice areas such as foreign trade expert Stephan Müller.
Dorel Germany GmbH
Union Tank Eckstein GmbH & Co. KG
TFK – Trends for Kids GmbH
Bundesverband deutscher Kinderausstatter
Airport Research Center
- Advice to CBRE on different project contracts (Master Service Agreements) with key accounts.
- Regular compliance advice to the Bundesverband deutscher Kinderausstattungshersteller (Association of manufacturers for baby and children products) on distribution cartel law, trademark and competition law as well as training courses concerning the new EU geo-blocking regulation.
- Advice to the Airport Research Center on distributional structures for the software marketing, including the drafting of software marketing contracts for international airport projects.
Orth Kluth Rechtsanwälte
Orth Kluth Rechtsanwälte pursues a full-service approach with special attention to the operative business of long-standing clients. With particular expertise in automotive, transport, innovative propulsion and renewable energy, the firm is on a growth course and gained four new associates in the first half of 2019. The team is led by four partners: Christiane Hoffbauer specialises in distribution law, Julius Böckmann is the main contact for disputes and Frank Wältermann predominately handles trade and liability work. Dafni Nikolakudi is the key contact for international plant manufacturers.
Julius Böckmann; Christiane Hoffbauer; Dafni Nikolakudi; Frank Wältermann
‘For our company, which globally exports 80% of its production, it is crucial to have fast access to highly professional expertise in different practice areas. Orth Kluth Rechtsanwälte offers this broad and deep knowledge. With this regard, the firm stands out in comparison to other firms as it has managed to acquire a very good and technical knowledge of our products. Last but not least, it has to be mentioned alongside the fast reaction time that Orth & Kluth Rechtsanwälte contributes to the finding of a feasible solution with practical approaches and is able to communicate complex legal matters in a client-friendly way.‘
‘Christiane Hoffbauer is our main contact and also liaises with our in-house councils and external specialists if necessary. She is always approachable and has never missed any of our set appointments over all the years we have worked together.‘
National Express Gruppe
National Express Rail GmbH
Outokumpu Oyj (Finnland)
TÜV Rheinland AG
ValeoSiemens eAutomotive Germany GmbH
VAT Vakuumventile AG
VDM Metals GmbH
- Advice to the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsbund on contracts regarding the purchase and maintenance of trains with an innovative hydrogen propulsion.
SKW Schwarz Rechtsanwälte covers trade, distribution and logistics work with significant emphasis on cross-border mandates. Oliver Korte is the main contact for commercial and distribution law matters and the 'very solution-oriented' Niels Witt for issues in the logistics space. Working in conjunction with other German offices, the team handles both contentious and non-contentious work and makes increasing use of legaltech solutions. Its international clients include food and medical products sector players as well as logistics companies and insurers.
Oliver Korte; Niels Witt
‘The team at SKW Schwarz consists of technically competent colleagues, who maintain a pleasant and binding collaboration, as well as a trusting togetherness at eye level.’
‘Pragmatic, consent-oriented approach under consideration of the particular proceedings situation – this is a summary of the collaboration with Oliver Korte.’
‘Oliver Korte has a very efficient, cautious working method. He also convinces with his speed, the compliance with commitments and a very good quality of work.’
‘Niels Witt shows high competence and great skill in negotiations with the opposing party.’
‘Niels Witt advises technically versed, fast and safely and also takes specific requirements into consideration.’