International Distributor Agreements

As companies look to expand their reach globally to enter new markets, a common strategy is to find a local partner in another country to serve as its international distributor. An international distributor is not a sales representative. Instead, the international distributor purchases products and services from the US company and then resells them to customers in one or more foreign countries.

When executed properly, relationships with international distributors can help US companies grow in new foreign markets with minimal risk and capital. As such, international distributors can dramatically shorten the timeline and expense in developing an international market. However, if not correctly executed and managed, an international distributor venture can become a liability and actually stunt future growth in the new market.

Advantages of International Distribution

One of the key advantages of using an international distributor is that the international distributor typically has relationships with potential customers, as well as a knowledge of local law, customs, and market conditions and expectations. But one must balance the advantages against the risk that the international distributor will be incompetent, will misappropriate intellectual property, will violate the FCPA, will damage the brand, or will otherwise cause harm or create liability.

International Distribution Agreement

The international distribution agreement represents the understanding of each partner’s respective rights, obligations and role within the venture. In addition, the international distribution agreement should address the ownership of intellectual property, provide for the ability to terminate the international distributor, and address issues such as installation and warranty returns. As such, the international distribution agreement requires careful review and drafting by experienced international distribution agreement attorneys.

Our International Distributor Agreement Experience

Our firm’s international distributor agreement attorneys have significant expertise in forming and negotiating international distribution agreement.

We offer an efficient, practical, and results-oriented approach to international distributor agreements, including:

  • Clear and concise written international distributor agreements

  • Useful and comprehensive legal advice

  • Strategic counseling in risk assessment, development of business and licensing models, and protection of intellectual property and technology assets

  • Effective and cogent negotiating, with an understanding of industry practices, common pitfalls, and creative solutions

Additional Insights Regarding International Distributors

For more information on international distributor legal issues, see our Legal Insights and Industry Solutions pages.