Gunster advises on all areas of franchise and distribution law. From contract negotiation to dispute resolution and regulatory counsel, our firm represents the full array of significant players within the franchise and distribution system, including franchisors, sub-franchisors, master franchisees, area developers and multi-unit franchisees. Having served as litigators, arbitrators and judges over the past several decades, our practice is grounded in experience and our attorneys seek to provide informed counsel pertaining to a myriad of issues surrounding creating, managing, licensing, developing, protecting and enforcing franchised business relationships, product distribution systems and dealership networks. We also provide practical legal advice in a wide variety of franchise-related corporate, technology, real property, environmental, tax and other matters.
Gunster strives to negotiate and draft franchise agreements that mitigate potential problems and safeguard our clients’ position. Our philosophy includes negotiating creative, out-of-the-box solutions that have the potential to result in a win-win approach to problem solving, deal-making and dispute resolution in this highly specialized area of practice. We work to resolve serious problems from the perspective of the many involved constituents when finding a path to resolution. In the event a dispute should ensue, our attorneys mediate, arbitrate and litigate matters involving termination, covenants not to compete, trademark infringement, wrongful use and/or theft of intellectual property, breach of contract and statutory violations.
Frequently, the resolution of franchise disputes includes a demand for injunctive relief. As a result, our litigators represent franchisors in actions in both state and federal courts seeking to enforce post-termination provisions of franchise agreements, prevent disclosure of confidential information, and stop the wrongful use of trademarks and intellectual property by terminated franchisees. Our firm also represents sub-franchisors, master franchisees, area developers and multi-unit franchisees seeking to prevent a franchisor from wrongfully terminating a franchise relationship. Moreover, our litigators defend the rights of manufacturers and distributors in antitrust matters involving the termination of distribution arrangements.
Gunster advises on franchise legal compliance programs that include the structuring, registration and updating of franchise offering documents throughout the country. Our attorneys prepare federal and state-specific disclosure provisions and draft all contracts necessary to establish, protect and enforce franchised business relationships. Our practice also includes the maintenance of on-going disclosure, reporting and registration renewal needs of clients in strict compliance with the federal and state laws that govern their franchise, distributor and dealer relationships.
Resources for further information:
- ABA Forum on Franchising
- ABA Section of Antitrust Law; Distribution and Franchising Committee
- ABA International Law; Commercial Transactions, Franchising and Distribution Committee
- International Franchise Association
- North American Securities Administrators Association
- Federal Trade Commission (franchise FAQs)
- Franchise Business Review
- Franchise News
- Franchise Industry Benchmark Report (registration is required)
- National Restaurant Association
- National Automobile Dealers Association