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Franchising has become the dominant method for companies in all industries to expand domestically and internationally. Our nationally recognized attorneys are certified specialists in franchising and distribution law. They have counseled companies of all sizes and in all industry sectors, from small start-ups to Fortune 100 public companies, on whether to franchise, how to develop their brands, and how to protect their brands. We have evaluated dozens of licensing and distribution arrangements for restructuring solutions to avoid characterization as a “franchise” and provided strategic litigation support in cases where franchise status is an issue.

At Davis Wright Tremaine, our ability to offer franchising clients complete legal support sets us apart. Unlike packagers of off-the-shelf franchise disclosure documents and general practitioners inexperienced with the nuances of franchise law, our franchising and distribution attorneys are leaders in the field with decades of experience helping hundreds of different franchise and licensing concepts design and launch franchise systems. We know how to craft custom solutions for clients that distinguish the client’s franchise and distribution program in the marketplace. We dedicate the time to understand each client’s business objectives, allowing us to structure franchise, distribution and licensing programs that advance each company’s unique business goals. Additionally, our clients benefit from immediate access to the firm’s vast resources according to their legal needs, from intellectual property and trademark protection to employment law, dispute resolution, mergers and acquisition, general corporate and corporate finance, restructuring, antitrust, tax, retail leasing and more. As a result, we deliver comprehensive, cost-effective solutions to our client’s most complex and sensitive legal needs.

The successes we have achieved on behalf of our clients in domestic and international franchise growth have earned Davis Wright Tremaine a global reputation for excellence and creative problem-solving skills. Drawing upon our strength as a firm of over 500 attorneys in eight East and West coast offices, we are a primary resource for all of our clients. Not only do we serve as legal counsel on many significant franchising and distribution transactions, but our deep industry connections in the most active industries that utilize franchising, specifically hospitality, restaurants and food service, beverage distribution, consumer products, retail securities, and health care.

Representative services

  • Analyzing and structuring franchise programs and non-franchising licensing alternatives
  • Structuring license relationships for expansion in nontraditional locations such as airports, universities, stadiums and health care facilities
  • Preparing franchise disclosure documents and franchise agreements for domestic and international transactions
  • Handling franchise registration and sale compliance in all jurisdictions
  • Structuring co-branding relationships and conversion of unbranded business units to franchised locations
  • Preparation of master franchise, subfranchise, area representative and area development contracts
  • Representing clients in the acquisition of a franchise system, including conducting franchise due diligence, negotiating financing, and providing lead counsel services
  • Counseling regarding pricing and other antitrust matters
  • Counseling clients with operational solutions for franchise expansion and relationship matters including supply chain issues, creation of purchasing coops and implementation of system-wide changes
  • Expanding into foreign countries through master franchising, area development relationships, joint ventures and other business structures and counseling clients on import/export of proprietary products required by foreign franchisees
  • Transfer and termination counseling, including preparing transfer consents and termination notices and enforcement of contract terminations
SBA to Ring In New Year with New Franchisor Requirements - Read the advisory
Shelley Spandorf named Legal Eagle by Franchise Times Magazine