Established franchisors face traditional legal and business issues but are also exposed to additional regulations with far-ranging implications. We represent some of the nation’s largest and most well-known franchise and distribution companies and provide representation to a host of international franchisors in a variety of industries.
We can assist with your franchise questions as you run and grow your franchise system. From direct franchising agreements to area developer arrangements to international master franchise arrangements, we will represent your business’ ongoing interests, building a continuous relationship throughout the life of the franchise.
We also help with the not so day-to-day issues that arise in the operation of a franchise system: the establishment of franchisee committees, significant changes to the brand such as re-branding some or all of the system, the sale of company-owned locations, structuring and implementation of marketing funds and other systemwide changes. We help with issues related to insurance liability and joint-employer status and assist with terminations and managing post-termination restrictive covenants to protect your franchise. We also provide franchise law compliance training to franchisors to protect the franchisor and its management from unnecessary disputes.
Registration Updates & Renewals
For franchisors subject to making renewal filings each year, we help ensure the correct information is updated and filed correctly and on time. State deadlines and requirements for renewal filings vary, and familiarity with those details allows us to keep the franchisors we represent on track. We assist with updates to franchise disclosure documents and other renewal documents to ensure compliance.
We advise U.S. companies with international franchise and distribution systems and foreign companies entering the U.S. market. Regardless of the direction of distribution, our goal is to provide the tools, legal understanding and safeguards necessary for your business to operate comfortably in the new market.
For U.S. clients expanding abroad, we ensure that all agreements are appropriate for the multi-national relationship and, typically working with local counsel in other countries, that the agreements and disclosure documents comply with foreign laws and reflect the foreign market.
Non-U.S. clients entering the U.S. market face issues beyond pure franchise law matters. The legal services we provide to non-U.S. clients are similar to those provided to U.S. clients but are intended to also help overcome business cultural gaps. U.S. franchise law also poses some unique challenges for non-U.S. franchisors, and we can help identify practical solutions.
Mergers & Acquisitions
We work with private equity firms and other prospective buyers or sellers of franchise systems, as well as with franchisors’ lenders, to evaluate franchise systems that are acquisition targets from a franchise law and industry perspective and help ensure there is sufficient protection in the case of an acquisition. We are involved in the entire process — from the due diligence stage to drafting and negotiating transaction documents. Depending on the deal, our attorneys may lead the transaction or serve as special counsel on franchise specific issues. We have recently been involved in acquisitions and franchisor financing deals for franchisors in the restaurant, hospitality, education and automotive industries.
Marketing, Branding, Advertising & Social Media
One of the greatest benefits of being part of a franchise system is the name recognition and advertising support franchisors can give their franchisees. We help franchisors in making sure they comply with laws and regulation on marketing, branding and gift cards, as well as helping them with social media policies and other marketing-related issues.
Trademark & Copyright Services
Trademarks need to be registered and aggressively protected. We can assist with registering trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and with foreign intellectual property authorities, counsel on how to protect your proprietary marks and draft any associated trademark license agreements. We also will help you protect your copyrightable materials.
Workouts & Bankruptcy
Whether issues arise in disputes between parties or with lenders or other creditors, we can assist by negotiating terms, conditions and covenants in loan documentation, negotiating workouts of problem credits, advising on rights and providing guidance as to strategy in bankruptcy and receivership proceedings to maximize your recovery. Our approach ensures that your rights are defended and protected.