Franchise Law Update Blog

https://franchiselaw.foxrothschild.com/

For those with an interest in the world of franchising, the Franchise Law Update blog will become a regular stop for you. Our bloggers discuss not only the regulatory aspects of franchising, but also diverse topics such as business finance, employment, litigation and the protection of intellectual property including trademarks and copyrights. We understand that while franchising has its unique aspects, franchise businesses confront the same opportunities, changes and challenges as any other business.

Recent Blog Posts

  • At the buzzer: FDA (again) extends compliance deadline for menu labeling rules Copyright: bluedarkat / 123RF Stock Photo Just four days shy of the enforcement deadline, the FDA extended the date for restaurants and similar retail food establishments to comply with its menu labeling rule. The rule was originally published on December 1, 2014 and requires certain food establishments to list calorie information on menus and menu boards, including food on display and self-service food (the “Rule”). Enforcement was delayed multiple times, and the Rule was slated to go into effect on May... More
  • Drafting Matters: When non-competes and renewal provisions collide If a franchisor waives the non-compete provision in its current franchise agreement, can it enforce a non-compete when the franchise agreement is renewed? According to a recent decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the answer is yes, and franchisors should consider a few key lessons from the decision. Robinson, DVM v. Charter Practices International, LLC, No. 15-35356 (June 21, 2017). In Robinson, a franchisee sued its franchisor for breach of contract and other claims when the franchisor refused to... More
  • Cities of Wisconsin, BEWARE! A recent decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court (“Court”) has potentially far-reaching consequences for municipalities and how they conduct certain business. In Benson v. City of Madison, the Court analyzed whether the Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law (“WFDL”) applied to the arrangement between the City of Madison (“City”) and multiple entities, collectively (“Golf Pros”). The City entered into contracts with Golf Pros to operate, manage and provide certain services at the golf courses owned by the City. The City paid Golf Pros a... More
  • Court: Philadelphia Beverage Tax Is Constitutional Updating our blog posts of March 29, July 7 and December 26 of 2016, an appeal to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania seeking to invalidate the Philadelphia Beverage Tax on Sugar Sweetened Beverages (the “PBT”) failed.  In a majority opinion filed on June 14, 2017, Judge Michael Wojcik, joined by 5 of the 7 judges hearing the appeal, affirmed the judgement of the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas that the tax is constitutional and consequently agreed that an injunction against... More
  • Is Everything “Settled” in Your Settlement Agreement? Not Quite! A recent case involving the Whataburger franchise system reminds franchisors of the importance of the use of iron-clad language when granting future development rights. In Whataburger, Inc. et. al. (“Whataburger”) v. Whataburger of Alice, Ltd. (“WOA”), the court was tasked with interpreting the language of a settlement agreement (“Settlement Agreement”) to determine whether WOA had the unfettered right to open new restaurants. Copyright: jagcz / 123RF Stock Photo As background, WOA had previously operated 28 franchised restaurants and sold them to Whataburger... More
  • Canada’s Horrible Anti-Spam Law Almost Got Even More Horrible As many Canadians, as well as foreign companies doing business in Canada, now know, the cornerstone of Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is a general prohibition against sending any “commercial electronic message” without the prior express or implied consent of the recipient. A “commercial electronic message ” or “CEM” is broadly understood as any electronic message that encourages participation in a commercial activity. That’s a big deal, because one of the fundamental elements of CASL that makes it so onerous is... More
  • Janitorial services franchisor cleans up on joint employer claim Janitorial services franchisor Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc. (“Jan-Pro”) is not the employer of its unit franchisees, according to a recent California federal court decision. Roman v. Jan-Pro Franchising Int’l, Inc., No. C 16-05961 WHA (N.D. Cal. May 24, 2017). The plaintiff franchisees failed to show that Jan-Pro exercised sufficient control over their day-to-day employment activities. Copyright: stocksolutions / 123RF Stock Photo What makes this case unique is that Jan-Pro operates a three-tiered franchising structure, often called a subfranchise arrangement. Under this arrangement,... More
  • DOL Opinion Letters are Back As a surprising new gift from the Trump Administration, the Department of Labor has decided that it will again start issuing opinion letters on thorny questions about the FMLA and the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division. For reasons that were never quite clear, the Obama Administration had done away with the practice; instead preferring to sporadically issue administrator interpretations. For employers, opinion letters are often more helpful as you can tell the DOL your specific facts... More
  • Ransomware: How Can You Fight Back? Ransomware is back in the news. Yet again, massive and not-so-massive corporate enterprises find themselves at risk of having their computer systems and records held hostage to internet raiders. And, in an added twist, this time systems are not necessarily unlocked even after the ransom is paid. Copyright: tonsnoei / 123RF Stock Photo What can you do? The key is advance preventative measures. Over at Fox Rothschild’s Privacy Compliance and Data Security blog, we follow these issues regularly. There, we have noted... More
  • Is Your Agreement to Arbitrate Valid? Many franchisors employ arbitration as its preferred method of dispute resolution.  Generally, courts view arbitration agreements favorably. An agreement to arbitrate waives the fundamental right to have a court decide the merit of their disputes. As such, valid, enforceable arbitration agreements are required to waive this essential right. Two recent decisions highlight the importance of ensuring that a valid agreement to arbitrate exists between the parties. Copyright: designer491 / 123RF Stock Photo Theo’s Pizza, LLC v. Integrity Brands, LLC In this case, the franchisee... More