No Future Obligations

Contract Type:

Nothing in this Agreement shall obligate either Party to enter into any further agreements or business relationship. Either Party may, in its sole discretion, choose to not proceed with any possible future business relationship or agreement.


This clause specifies that nothing in the current agreement creates any obligation or commitment for either party to enter into any future agreements or business relationships with one another. In short, it means:

1) Neither party is binding themselves or the other to pursue any further contractual or business relationship beyond the current agreement by signing it.

2) Both parties remain entirely at liberty to choose not to do any further agreements or deals together, for any reason and at the sole discretion of either side.

3) The current agreement only establishes responsibilities and terms for itself, not for any future dealings, relationships or partnerships between the parties. Each remains free to cease the relationship.

In plain terms, this clause:

A) Preserves the autonomy and freedom of choice for both parties regarding future dealings after completing the current agreement. Neither has bound the other in advance or given up their discretion over what future relationships to pursue. 

B) Avoids creating unintended long-term obligations or implied commitments merely due to the existence of a previous successful contract or partnership. Each agreement or business relationship remains self-contained.

C) Gives both parties flexibility and control over their own businesses and commercial decisions. They cannot be compelled into future contracts or relationships they do not deem in their interests based on past dealings alone. 

D) Ensures clarity that current responsibilities, obligations and expectations are strictly limited to the business encompassed within the agreement itself. No open-ended commitments exist unless explicitly negotiated.

The overall goal of such 'no future obligation' clauses is maintaining independence and permissible freedom for the future growth and decision making of the businesses on both sides.

Nothing in this Agreement shall obligate either Party to enter into any further agreements or business relationship. Either Party may, in its sole discretion, choose to not proceed with any possible future business relationship or agreement.

History of the clause (for the geeks)

'No future obligation' clauses emerged as business practices grew more complex and interdependent. Early commercial contracts were typically quite narrowly framed, establishing terms for a specific transaction without implying any commitment beyond that.

However, as businesses formed more long-term partnerships and multi-agreement relationships, questions arose around implied duties of loyalty or expectation of continued dealing. Clauses were introduced to expressly confirm that no obligation for future association existed unless negotiated separately.

Through the 20th century, companies grew vastly in scale and scope of operations. Many developed established long-term supplier and customer networks, raising issues like relational dependency and being 'locked in' without explicit consent. Clauses evolved to emphasize discretion over future relationships and freedom to pursue other opportunities in the sole judgment of either party. Contracts recognized present cooperation need not dictate future dealings without choice.

Increased merger and acquisition activity also spurred use of such clauses. Companies sought to partner in one area without feeling compelled into wider combination or exchange of equity. 'No future obligation' provisions allowed discrete alliances and JVs to form, circumscribing duties and expectations to specific purposes rather than an open-ended general business relationship. Each new initiative required a separate assessment and agreement on its merits alone.

Today, these clauses remain crucial in complex business environments where multiple intersecting relationships form around particular projects or areas, but autonomy of decision making over the scope of one's enterprise endures as pivotal. Finely balanced provisions aim for continuity where relationships bear fruit but refrain from imposing restraints, relying instead on proven mutual benefit to sustain engagements. Obligations tend to expand through incrementally negotiated commitments, not by implication from any single agreement.

Sophisticated modern clauses convey the spirit of good faith and alliance where shared interests exist, but avoid the expectation of an open-ended general partnership where none has been consciously formed.

Precise parameters around current dealings represent confidence in present relationships, not an inducement for perpetual association against one's strategic interests. Commercial life proceeds through a network of purposeful discrete partnerships, not default mass obligation.