Trademark FAQ’s

Trademark FAQ’s

WHAT IS A TRADEMARK? A trademark identifies your business, services, or goods. A trademark can be a name, symbol, design, sound, or even a smell, used to identify the source (manufacturer, producer, service provider) of particular goods or services.  Some famous examples include Google, McDonald’s golden arches, Nike’s swoosh, and

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Affiliates and Franchising

 I hear the term “affiliate” a lot.  What does that mean and how does it relate to franchising? “Affiliate” means under common ownership or control. Let’s say you have a successful flagship company store, Bob’s Subs, LLC.  And Bob’s Subs, LLC has operated for 5 years very successfully.  You now

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Differences between Unit, Area and Master Franchises

I have heard the terms “Unit” franchise, “Area Representative,” and “Master Franchise.”  What is the difference? A Unit franchise refers to someone who owns and operates an outlet, like a sandwich shop. An Area Representative, which is also a franchise relation, refers to someone who purchases rights to a large

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Franchising vs Licensing

For some businesses, the process of franchising seems too difficult and they would rather just license their brand and system through a license agreement.   The difference between a license and a franchise is important to consider when establishing business relationships.  Otherwise, license agreements could be considered illegal franchises.   In general,

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Financial Performance Representations

I now have my FDD issued and am selling franchises. A prospect has asked me how much money they should expect to make. Can I tell them? The laws on Financial Performance Representations (“FPRs”), previously called “earnings claims,” can be tricky. Here are some of the general rules: A “financial

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What is the 14 day hold on an FDD?

What is the 14 day hold on an FDD and how does a franchisor count the required 14 day hold that a franchise prospect must have on an FDD? Under federal law, and the law of most states which have franchise laws, in order to enter into a franchise agreement

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Franchise Advertising Rules

Are there any rules related to franchise advertising material and, if so, what are the main rules? Several of the franchise registration states have rules on franchise advertising material.  Here is a summary of some of the main rules: First, franchise advertising material must be submitted to the following states

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What is a Franchise Broker?

What is a Franchise Broker or Franchise Seller ? Are there any laws that apply to them? A Franchise Seller is someone who sells franchises for a franchisor, normally for a commission on each franchise sale. A Franchise Seller needs to be listed on the Receipt pages of the FDD,

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Franchisor and Franchisee Problems

 I am an existing franchisor having trouble with one of our franchisees.  What are the next steps? As a general rule, we counsel a three step approach to dealing with a franchisee who is not in compliance with the Franchise Agreement or Operations Manual. First, it is always best to

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What is the process to renew a franchise agreement?

I am an existing franchisor and it is time to renew one of our franchise agreements. What is the process to renew a franchise agreement? A franchisor has two options when renewing a franchise agreement at the end of its term.  The easiest option, though not preferred, is to simply

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Is it Time to Franchise My Business?

One of your customers tells you they are moving to Richmond and they like your business concept so much they would like to know if they can acquire the right to franchise one of your businesses under your trade name in Richmond.  Do you say yes or no? It depends

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When starting a franchise brand, keep it simple!

By keeping the franchising operation simple, a franchisor can channel more cash and resources to growth instead of overhead. Here are 11 tips. 1. Register Your Trademark Early Trademarks are a cornerstone to franchising, so registration is a necessity.  But it can also save you fees in states where the

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Going from Franchisee to Franchisor

Introduction             Being a franchisee exposes one to small business ownership, entrepreneurial and management skills, and puts you out in the business world, surrounded by other businesses, mentors, suppliers, and customers.  From this experience, an idea may spark in you to become a franchisor of a business concept, or someone

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Unit Franchise Owner v. Area Developer v. Master Franchise

Many franchisors offer prospects the option of purchasing a unit franchise, on one hand, or an Area Developer territory, on the other hand.  Often times, the terms “Master Franchise” or “Regional Developer” are used interchangeably with “Area Developer.”  When presented with such a choice, the question becomes, which one is

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Benefits and Challenges of Implementing an Area Developer Program

Whether to implement an Area Developer program is a decision franchisors make at various times of their business planning.  New franchisors may question the need to implement an Area Developer program from the start, whereas established franchisors contemplating growth may wish to expand into an Area Developer program. The advantages

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Need Help?

Our attorneys  focus on franchise and trademark law matters, including state franchise filings and registrations, and trademark applications.