Has a former franchisee violated the non-compete clause by offering services outside an agreed territory? The court thinks not. The non-competition prohibition only applies to own brokerage activities and not to the presentation of brokerage activities of third parties. See the judgment of the interim relief judge of the Central Netherlands District Court of 13 January 2016, ECLI:NL:RBMNE:2016:191 (123Wonen/ex-franchisee).
Franchisor and franchisee had concluded a franchise agreement with regard to a formula for intermediation in, among other things, renting and renting out accommodation. The parties had agreed that after the termination of the franchise agreement, the franchisee was not allowed to carry out brokerage activities with regard to the rental of homes (with the exception of 20 permitted properties) outside a certain geographical area. However, the former franchisee’s website lists more than the 20 excluded objects from outside the agreed upon area. Is there now a violation of the post non-compete clause?
The preliminary relief judge of the district court rules that the post non-competition prohibition only concerns brokerage activities and that the parties have not made any agreements about offering homes in which other estate agents mediate. Now that this has not been sufficiently contested by the former franchisor and further evidence in the context of summary proceedings is limited.
This judgment shows once again that the formulation of a non-competition clause must be done with great care.
mr. AW Dolphijn – Franchise lawyer
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