Know-how in franchise chains: a literature review and interviews with lawyers
Know-how is widely acknowledged as one of the cornerstones of franchising. However, despite its importance, both in the successful management, but also the regulation of the franchise agreement, it remains a somewhat elusive construct. Within this paper, by drawing on both the ex ante literature and the views of 27 expert lawyers from France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, we seek to gain new insights into the concept of know-how, by addressing the following questions: How are know-how requirements understood and interpreted by doctrine and jurisprudence? And, is there consensus in the interpretation of the characteristics of know-how? In this paper, we try to answer these questions. We believe the findings allow us to better understand the concept of know-how, and provide a critical insight of the various characteristics of the know-how imposed by the European regulation. The findings further highlight the importance of evaluating the effectiveness of know-how.