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Commercial Law — The concept of business ("commerce") — What is a business ("fonds de commerce")?

Date Citation Note
27.03.2002 Civ. 3:Bull. 2002 III No.° 77 P.66 Application for review n°, 00-20732 Case Trévisan v. Basquet A business ("fonds de commerce") is considered by French law almost as a quasi-entity. It is considered to be made up of certain elements, in particular a right to occupy commercial premises, ("droit au bail"), goodwill ("clientèle"), equipment, stock;and when it is found to exist certain consequences follow: the right to occupy premises is protected, special formal rules apply to its transfer, transfer is subject to stamp duty ("droits d'enregistrement"), it and changes to its ownership, place of business, etc., must be files in the Commercial Registry. This case, which relates to the availability or not of protected status in relation to a lease, is an interesting analysis of whether or not a franchisee can create a business ("fonds de commerce") which is independent of the national business of the franchisee; if not, the protection is not available; if so, it is. The Court held that the franchisee's activities did create an independent business ("fonds de commerce"), and that the protection (in the form of damages for eviction) was available)