The Main Directions in Comparative Franchising Regulation – Unidroit Initiative and its Influence
Franchising is a growing and overspread business activity but its legal aspects create many potential difficulties for those intended to oblige themselves in legal relationship of franchising agreement. The legal problems in franchising arise not only because of the numerous controversies which are immanent to the franchising agreements but because franchising is not one type of agreement; it is a rather a concept which covers a number of different types of contracts in various aspects of business activities Only 15 years ago in most national legislations, franchising was an anonymous contract (contractus innominatus) which was not the subject of the specific regulation. At the same time franchising arrangements were in the national context a subject to a considerable number of laws and regulations especially those regulating general contract principles and commercial contracts or industrial and intellectual property rights. It was the past activity of UNIDROIT (International Institute for the Unification of Private Law) which was the spiritus movens and a driving force nowadays in the actual and overwhelming process of the legislation movements in numerous countries. Those legal instruments were UNIDROIT Guide to International Master Franchising Arrangements 1998 (rev.2007) and Model Franchising Disclosure Law created in 2002 which were the soft law that has created a momentum in recent national franchising regulation. The impact of the UNIDROIT soft law legal instruments to the types, sphere of application and methods of comparative franchising regulation is to be considered in the article.