The Cour de Cassation follows the ECJ in considering that the status of commercial agent does not require the ability for the agent to determine the prices.
A decision of the French Cour de Cassation regarded a case in which a company specializing in the publishing and marketing of leisure products had entered into a permanent agreement with an individual, entrusting him with client prospection in a given geographic area. Such individual sued the company for termination of the contract and requested payment of various indemnities, claiming his status was that of a commercial agent.
In the past, the Cour the Cassation had ruled that the status of commercial agent required that the intermediary had a certain freedom of action to negotiate the essential terms of the agreement prior to the conclusion of the contract with the final client. This interpretation was contradicted by the European Court of Justice in its decision on June 4th 2020 (ECJ, June 4, 2020, Trendsetteuse SARL v. DCA SARL, C-828/18), which held that the benefit of the status of commercial agent did not require that the agent had received power from his principal to negotiate and determine the prices of the goods or services.
Thus, in its decision of December 2, 2020, the French Court the Cassation has aligned its case law with that of the ECJ. A commercial agent is defined as an individual or legal entity which, as independent professional, not bound by a service contract, is entrusted with negotiating and possibly concluding sale, purchase, rental or service contracts for and on behalf of producers, industrialists, traders or other commercial agents, although he/it does not have the power to negotiate and determine the prices of these goods or services.