Franchise Law Focus


Franchise Law

Since 2001, Mulcahy LLP’s nationally-recognized franchise law group has represented franchisors (and at times, subfranchisors, master franchisees, area developers, regional developers, franchising joint ventures, and franchisees) in the following business sectors that have adopted franchising as a method of distribution:

  • Quick Service Restaurant (QSR)
  • Health Care
  • Real Estate Brokerages
  • Business Services
  • Home Services
  • Cleaning
  • Motor Vehicle 
  • Pet & Grooming
  • Hospitality
  • Tutoring
  • Farm & Industrial Equipment
  • Health and Fitness
  • Senior Care
  • Restaurant
  • DVD, Video & Gaming
  • Entertainment
  • Printer, Copying & Sign
  • Security
  • Hotels
  • Mailing & Shipping
  • Vending
 

Our clients cover a broad range of size and experience, from entrepreneurs and start-up companies that are establishing new programs, to the largest franchise systems with thousands of outlets. We represents our franchise clients on a wide variety of legal issues involving franchise registration and compliance, distribution systems, intellectual property, real estate, employment, and other matters.

Our attorneys are recognized as leaders in the franchise law community. They include certified specialists in franchise and distribution law as recognized by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization. They have also been conferred titles such as: “Top Rated Franchise & Dealership Attorney” by Super Lawyers® Magazine, and “Franchise Times Legal Eagle” by Franchise Times Magazine and their peers.

In addition, our attorneys hold leadership positions on various franchise-specific committees and associations. They currently hold (or have recently held) leadership positions on the California Franchise Committee (Chairs) and on the Franchise and Distribution Law Advisory Commission, California Board of Legal Specialization. They regularly write and speak on franchise, distribution and competition issues for, among others, the California State Bar, the International Franchise Association and the American Bar Association.

We counsel clients on all aspects of the franchise relationship: from the initial decision to franchise, to navigating the myriad state and federal registration and disclosure laws, to drafting franchise agreements and disclosure documents, to developing internal policies and best practices for managing a franchise and distribution system, to negotiating with suppliers, distributors and other third parties, to litigating and arbitrating when necessary.

As experienced trial lawyers, we have extensive experience with state-specific franchise and relationships laws, disclosure and fraud issues, contract disputes and breaches of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, dealer/franchise renewals, terminations, and transfers, territorial disputes, expansion and encroachment issues exclusivity and noncompete provisions, tortious interference and other intentional tort claims, trade secret, trademark and copyright infringement, Lanham Act violations, antitrust, and labor and employment disputes.

Practice Guides




  • What is a Franchise Under California Law?

    What is a Franchise Under California Law?

    On January 1, 1971, the California Franchise Investment Law (the “CFIL”) became law in California, making it the first franchise-specific law in the country. The CFIL, codified at Corporations Code sections 31000 through 31516, is designed to regulate franchisors’ dissemination of information to prospective franchisees, allowing the prospects to make informed decisions regarding their potential franchise investments. Both the registration and disclosure requirements under the CFIL closely mirror California’s Blue Sky Laws.

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  • Selectively Enforcing Franchise Agreements

    Selectively Enforcing Franchise Agreements

    The contractual rights and responsibilities of the individual franchisees in a particular franchise system are generally uniform throughout that system. The franchisor achieves this homogeneity by (1) amending or supplementing earlier versions of its franchise agreement to reflect its current version of the document, and (2) requiring all franchisees to adhere to a single operations manual. Uniform obligations help instill consistency in the brand and simplify the franchisor’s monitoring and enforcement efforts.

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  • Personal Liability of Franchisor's Officers & Directors

    Personal Liability of Franchisor's Officers & Directors

    It is widely understood that the owner or operator of a corporation acting in her “corporate capacity” can hide behind the protective veil of the corporation to avoid liability of the corporation. However, this fundamental protection afforded the principals of most business models may not be available to franchisors.

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  • Private Right of Action Under the CFIL

    Private Right of Action Under the CFIL

    Unlike the federal franchise laws – that can only be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission – the California Franchise Investment Law (CFIL) provides individual franchisees (and subfranchisors) with a private right of action against the franchisor.

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  • Disclosure Of California Franchise Opportunity

    Disclosure Of California Franchise Opportunity

    All franchisors that are subject to registration in California are required to provide prospective franchisees with a Franchise Disclosure Document (“FDD”), including the California cover page and addendum, all attachments and exhibits, 14 calendar days before the prospect signs a binding agreement with, or makes any payment to, the franchisor or its affiliate.

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  • The Experienced Franchisee Exemption Under The California Franchise Investment Law

    The Experienced Franchisee Exemption Under The California Franchise Investment Law

    In California, the offer and sale of a franchise is regulated by the California Franchise Investment Law (“CFIL”)

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