Franchising: Laws, Regulations and Dispute Resolution

Credits: 2.00

More than 40% of all retail sales occur at franchised businesses. All of us are regular customers of franchised businesses. Franchising is a large, and growing part of the economy. The course would give students an introduction and a working knowledge of business opportunity and franchise regulation and the litigations and arbitrations (mediations) it spawns. Product franchises like soft drink bottlers and gas stations will not be discussed but business format franchises, like McDonalds, Meineke Muffler and Planet Fitness will be reviewed in depth. When three elements are present in a business relationship, it is a franchise. These are (1) one party granting a trademark license; (2) the trademark owner showing the licensee how to run the business; and (3) payment of money in return. Often litigation focuses on what are called "accidental franchises" where the three elements are present but the promoter does not know the offering is a franchise at law. The course will examine key issues in franchising, including formation of franchise contracts; good faith performance, breach, termination, renewal, and assignment; trademark creation, protection and infringement; and remedies.

Grading and Method of Evaluation:

Letter grade with Pass/Fail option. Students will be graded on in-class presentations and a final exam.