franchise contract-competition ban

contrato de franquicia

The delimitation of the local and within-competition ban on franchise agreements make unnecessary the proof of identity of the activities and transmission of know-how

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Ban-competition of services under franchise is required although rendered are not identical, come or not know how the franchiser, when you have limited space and time of that obligation in the contract.

a franchise agreement was signed between two commercial companies. a clause of non-competition was agreed in the contract. It use local object and franchise services to the termination of the contract was prohibited during the following year.

Fact background,,es,Juan Alberto and Paulina filed suit against FTA,,es,Asset Securitization Fund,,es,requesting the declaration of nullity for abusive of the floor and ceiling clauses contained in the novation contract of the mortgage loan of,,es,with the corresponding refund of amounts unduly collected,,es,The Securitization Fund Management Company,,es,Beech,,es,acting on behalf of FTA, he responded to said claim alleging that he lacked passive legitimacy since the entity had no legal personality and that it constituted only a private and open fund and that therefore the passive legitimization corresponded to BBVA as successor of Catalunya Banc that was the Company fund constituent,,es

The 31 July 2009 a franchise agreement between Esthetic Medicine MEDITERRANEA SL as franchiser and INFINITY CLINIC SL was signed (onwards, INFINITY) as franquiciada. The contract activities were waxing and beauty treatments.

The contract contained a clause on the Ban-competition. The franchised could not, during the year following the completion of the contract, develop the activity in the same place where the franchise exploded.

After more than five years of the contract, it ended.

The franchised activity continued to develop under contract on the premises where the franchise was installed. And this, because it considered that it was not before a franchise agreement because there is no transmission know how by the franchiser.

The franchiser filed suit against INFINITY. He requested compensation 35.594,68 euros in damages and lost profits.

Primera Instancia

The 19 October 2017, the Court of First Instance No. 4 of Catarroja, partially estimated the claim against INFINITY. He condemned the entity defendant to pay the applicant the amount of 10.040,65 euros. Plus legal interest from the date of filing.

Provincial Court

INFINITY appealed based on four reasons:

  • Incongruity extra small Instance
  • Error in assessing the evidence regarding the administration of know how and developing their own differentiated know-how which the applicant took advantage.
  • Error in assessing the evidence regarding the incorrect interpretation of the covenant limitation of liability contained in the stipulation 20.3. f).
  • Error in assessing the evidence because damage assessment concepts were taken into account for the loss of earnings.

The 10 May 2019 section 8 of the Provincial Court of Valencia handed down its judgment No 262/2019.

On the transmission of know how the defendant and development, for this, of its own difference know how which it has taken advantage of the applicant

The appealing understood proved that the applicant lacked know how when he signed the franchise agreement. He alleged that the plaintiff had not shown that convey some kind of know how the franquiciada. And, the lack of evidence prevented the application of the non-competition clause Post-contractual.

Since November 2012, INFINITY contract with mercantile updated so that this will lend support functions for the operational management of clinical. As, these functions are not performed the franquiciadora. He developed his own and the defendant store management system. The defendant had to use external services to address the lack of attendance by the applicant. This through outsourcing services management and control Store, as well as own marketing policy.

The appellant argued that, the evidence produced at the hearing it was found the existence of a know how itself by the appellant, different and unique to the applicant.

He added that the contested judgment itself recognized that certain departments attendance were created after the contract. Specifically, the "franchisee support department" was not created until 9 months after signing the contract. And, the first training from the franchised received one year and eleven months after signing the contract. The burden of proof transmission know how He fell on the plaintiff. And, there was no evidence of such transmission.

The plaintiff meanwhile, He defended the decision appealed. It had been established the existence of a franchise agreement and exploitation by the defendant Business. The operation lasted more than five years, without objection during this period show that would conclude the absence of such transmission know how the defendant. For this, showed that, after completion of the contract the defendant deliberately developed on the premises covered by the contract activity. And, thereby it infringed the terms of obligations.

About, Hearing that it was determined from the terms of the contract to determine whether there was error in the assessment of the evidence by the judge.

Clause 13 the franchise agreement includes the clause "no competition" which he is what gave rise to the claim of the franchiser. This clause determined that: “During the period of one year counted from the termination of this contract or from its resolution for any reason, or the withdrawal of brands, labels and any distinctive sign of the Franchisor, Franchisee may not individually continue to exercise the same activity in the establishment that had exploited the franchise and referred to in this contract ".

Clause completed by 20, which stated that "Notwithstanding the termination of this Agreement, whatever the cause, the following mutual obligations will remain in force:... the franchisee may not exercise, in no case, por sí mismo, by another identical nature activities ..., similar or related to that which is the subject of presents Franchise Agreement, keeping to such a ban for a (1) after the date of termination of the contractual relationship that binds the parties year, todo ello referido exclusivamente al inmueble en el que el Franquiciado hubiera venido desarrollando la actividad de su clínica DEPILHAIR”.

Partiendo de la base de las cláusulas expuestas, la Audiencia desestimó el motivo. Lo que se reclamaba era una indemnización por un incumplimiento postcontractual del demandado. Y ello por seguir ejerciendo la misma actividad en el establecimiento en el que se había explotado la franquicia. Dicho extremo había quedado acreditado. Se realizó la actividad en el mismo establecimiento, y era claro que el local era aquel en el que el demandado venía realizando su actividad como franquiciado.

Concluyó la Audiencia que “independientemente de que los métodos que se apliquen para los tratamientos ofertados no sean idénticos, procedan el know how de la franquiciadora, de uno desarrollado por la propia franquiciada, o de otro distinto, ya que no es eso lo que penalizan las cláusulas de no competencia introducidas en el contrato litigioso.

On the error in the assessment of the evidence based on the incorrect interpretation of the agreement limiting liability stipulation 20.3.f) contract

Esta cláusula establecía que “En caso de infracción de lo que anteriormente se establece, los Tribunales decidirán en ausencia de acuerdo entre las partes, y una vez desestimada la intervención de peritos, sobre el daño emergente ocasionado al Franquiciador, fijando las cantidades que sirvieran para indemnizar las acciones del Franquiciado”.

La Juzgadora de instancia expuso en su sentencia que “se evidencia que el daño emergente se determinaría para el supuesto de que no hubiera acuerdo entre las partes y una vez desestimada la intervención de peritos, lo cual no ha sucediópues no solo se cuenta con una pericial de parte, sino también judicial a instancia de ambas”.

Se opuso la apelante por entender que el acuerdo y la intervención de peritos eran dos mecanismos alternativos en fase extrajudicial. No refiriéndose la cláusula a la intervención de peritos en fase judicial. Afirmó que no podía interpretarse el pacto de limitación de responsabilidad. Que la intervención de peritos en vía judicial desactivaba el mismo, ya que en caso contrario nunca desplegaría sus efectos dicha cláusula. Que la demandante solo tenía derecho a reclamar una indemnización en concepto de daño emergente. Se debían excluir los conceptos de indemnización por lucro cesante.

Se opuso a ello la demandante. How much, la conducta de la demandada quebraba los pactos contractuales asumidos voluntariamente. Debía pechar pues con las consecuencias indemnizatorias previstas en ellos.

La Audiencia determinó que la sentencia de instancia era correcta respecto a este punto. El daño emergente se determinaría para el supuesto de que no hubiera acuerdo entre las partes y una vez desestimada la intervención de peritos, lo cual no sucedió.

La juzgadora de instancia descartó la partida relativa al lucro cesante y estimó únicamente y de forma parcial la pérdida de clientela en la cantidad de 10.040,65 euros.

Respecto a los conceptos de lucro cesante y daño emergente, la Audiencia citó la STS de 12 November 2009, ponente XAVIER O’CALLAGHAN, by which "El lucro cesante se integra en la indemnización que debe percibir el acreedor de una obligación que ha sido incumplida culpablemente por el deudor, conforme contempla el art. 1106 del CC y ha reiterado la jurisprudencia”. Thus STS 5 November 1998 añadió “El lucro cesante tiene una significación económica, trata de obtener la reparación de la pérdida de ganancias dejadas de percibir, concepto distinto de los daños materiales…”.

El lucro cesante, como el daño emergente, debía ser probado. So good, en este solo cabían incluir los beneficios, concretos y acreditados que el perjudicado había percibido (STS 30 June 1993).

For Hearing,  la conclusión a la que llegó la juzgadora de instancia era correcta. No había imputado los conceptos que se referían a lucro cesante. La pérdida de clientela no era considerada por el perito como lucro cesante, sino como daño no económico.

Therefore,la Audiencia desestimó el recurso de apelación. Confirmó la resolución recurrida.

Conclusion

Existirá incumplimiento por competencia postcontractual si se ha ejercido la actividad dentro del período y espacio que se prohibió en el contrato. All, con independencia de que los servicios que se presten no sean idénticos a los anteriores o provengan del know how the franchisor.

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