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Run a Google search for the phrase “minimum advertised price policy” and you will find hundreds of sample policies, posted on a variety of manufacturers’ websites. Interest in minimum advertised price (“MAP”) policies has skyrocketed in recent years. It is important to draft and implement these policies with care. Some guiding principles follow. Read more . . .
Surveys have changed the landscape of valuable data held by consumer-facing businesses. Both franchisors and franchisees are using surveys more and more, as they have become increasingly easy to access and increasingly sound in their methodology. From a business perspective, the practical benefits of consumer surveys are easy to see. But where does all of this valuable data go when litigation unfolds? Most often, it sits on the virtual shelf gathering micro-dust. When this happens, a valuable resource is lost. Consumer surveys, when properly conducted, can be effective weapons in litigation, for franchisors and franchisees alike. Read more . . .
U.S. franchisors looking to expand into Europe may think of the European Union (“EU”) as having a single legal system, or at least a relatively homogenous set of legal systems. They would be mistaken. Although the EU aspires to be seen as a single economic unit, its 28 member states take a wide range of different approaches to legal issues that affect franchising. This is certainly true regarding the member states’ different approaches to the enforcement of post-termination covenants against competition. Read more . . .
Franchisors more and more are implementing mandatory re-imaging, remodeling, and refurbishment programs as they look to reinvigorate their systems, increase market share, and boost unit sales. These programs often involve substantial capital expenditures, strict deadlines, and disruptions to business operations. Franchisees may be hard pressed to find the desire or capital to fund such projects, particularly when faced with the requirement to address multiple outlets at the same time. This, in turn, can dramatically impact a franchisor’s ability to successfully implement its plans for the system. Franchise counsel can play a significant role in helping franchisors and franchisees avoid conflicts and work cooperatively to implement re-imaging, remodeling, and refurbishment programs. Read more . . .
The Americans with Disabilities Act and the ADA Amendments Act provide a broad scope of protection for individuals with disabilities. The ADA regulations provide guidance for new construction as well as requirements for alterations to existing facilities. Successfully implementing ADA-compliant alterations appears to be more problematic for business owners than ensuring ADA-compliance in new construction. In general, compliance with the architectural requirements of the ADA necessitates access and attention. Read more . . .
Unlike a couple on their first date, a franchisor and franchisee should start discussing the trajectory of their relationship from the very beginning. Succession planning is one way for a franchisor to demonstrate its commitment to its franchisees, even in the early stages of their relationship. Franchisors can discuss with franchisees important considerations in transitioning their business when they are ready to exit the system or retire, as well as financial planning techniques that will help them preserve their financial gains. Read more . . .
In August, I became Chair of the Forum on Franchising. I am mindful of the rich legacy that precedes me in this position. From the immediate past chair, Joe Fittante, through the past chairs with whom I have had the pleasure of working, Ron Gardner, Jack Dunham, Dennis Wieczorek, Steve Goldman, Susan Grueneberg, John Dienelt, Rick Asbill, Shelley Spandorf, Brett Lowell, Rupert Barkoff, Andy Selden, and Lee Abrams, all have made their mark on the Forum. Last year, under Joe’s leadership, the Governing Committee prepared a five-year strategic investment plan designed to ensure that the Forum continues to uphold its mission and goals while using its resources to benefit its members. After months of discussion and redrafting, the initial practical strategies of the Five-Year Plan are being implemented. I want to explain a few of them in this column. Read more . . .
“I enjoy having written,” Mark Twain said. Some credit the line to literary critic Dorothy Parker instead -- but whatever the source, the thought rings true when writing for "The Franchise Lawyer". Become an author and you are sure to cement wonderful friendships with co-authors and editors alike, build your “brand” in the franchise bar, and learn a lot (no matter how much you already know). Find out what Mark (or Dorothy) meant by writing an article. What topic beckons you? Read more . . .
Did you know that as a member of the ABA Forum on Franchising, you are also a member of LADR? What, you may ask, is LADR? It is the Forum’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution Division. LADR has three primary objectives. Read more . . .
When I was asked to pen this column for "The Franchise Lawyer", my first reaction was to find some reason to say “no” and hope the topic would be forgotten. Why? Well, bluntly put, the value of membership in the ABA Forum on Franchising remains the best kept secret in the international franchise bar. Read more . . .