The Ice Miller Blog

New Economic Census Shows Franchising is a Growing Business Concept

April 4, 2018 by Christina Laun Fugate, Partner
The U.S. Census Bureau, for the first time, included franchising data and information in its Economic Census. The data shows franchises are vital to many industries in our economy, providing further proof that the franchise business model is growing.


Franchisors – Are your Non-Solicitation Agreements Enforceable?

February 12, 2018 by Christina Laun Fugate, Partner
In late January, a class action was filed against Jimmy John’s in the Southern District of Illinois by current and former franchisee employees who are challenging Jimmy John’s enforcement of non-solicitation agreements. These agreements prohibit franchisees from recruiting or poaching employees from other Jimmy John’s restaurants. If poaching or recruiting does occur, Jimmy John’s has the right to terminate the franchise agreement and issue a $50,000 penalty. The plaintiffs are arguing that 98 percent of Jimmy John’s are franchises, and therefore, these agreements give employees little opportunity for competitive wages. Although this class action is pending in Illinois, this case begs the question whether a non-solicitation agreement, such as the Jimmy John’s agreement, is enforceable in Indiana.  
 


The Franchise Industry Looks Forward to Big Growth in 2018

February 2, 2018 by Christina Laun Fugate, Partner
For the eighth year in a row, the International Franchise Association, the franchise industry’s largest trade group, released its 2018 Franchise Business Outlook, forecasting franchise industry growth.


Ohio Franchise Law Applies to Franchises in Ohio

January 23, 2018 by Christina Laun Fugate, Partner
Whether you’re a franchisor or franchisee, it is important to know whether the Ohio Franchise Act applies to your business. The answer to this question will determine whether the franchisor is required to make certain investment or financial disclosures to the potential franchisee, what terms are allowed in the franchise agreement, and what rights the franchisee has to cancel the franchise agreement.


Exemption-Based Franchising in Indiana – Do you Qualify?

December 7, 2017 by Christina Laun Fugate, Partner
All franchises are governed by the Federal Trade Commission’s Federal Franchise Rule, which requires franchisors to create and provide to prospective franchisees a Franchise Disclosure Document (“FDD”) before they are legally permitted to sell a franchise. Fourteen states, including Indiana, have enacted state laws that require franchisors to register their FDDs with the state prior to offering or selling a franchise. Nine of these registration states provide some form of an exemption from the registration (and in some cases, disclosure) requirements. Indiana is one of them. This article provides an overview of exemptions that may apply to franchisors looking to offer their franchise business in the state of Indiana.


Franchising: Are You Ready to Expand Your Brand?

November 29, 2017 by Christina Laun Fugate, Partner
As 2017 quickly comes to an end, it’s time to start putting together your business plan and evaluate your goals for 2018. Are you a business owner who has developed a proven model of success? Do you have a recognizable brand? Are you looking to grow your brand and expand?  If the answers to these questions are “yes,” you might be ready to take the next step to make your business a franchise. While not all businesses are cut out to become a franchise, here are some initial factors to consider in determining whether franchising is the right model for you.


A Franchise Dispute is Brewing

A flurry of litigation is brewing over the Ohio Alcoholic Beverages Franchise Act (the Act) as Great Lakes Brewing Company seeks to require its distributor to obtain Great Lakes’ approval before changing ownership. The case is currently taking a second lap before the Sixth Circuit to determine whether Great Lakes violated the Act.



Franchisors – Don’t Delay!

“Act now, don’t delay.” That was the important lesson that a federal court recently handed down to franchisors when the court denied Noble Roman’s claim that its franchisee violated the federal Lanham Act. This decision is an important reminder to franchisors that they must be diligent in their efforts to discover violations of the franchise agreement, and to the extent they find any violations, to promptly preserve their right to pursue enforcement and damages.


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