Franchise & Distribution Law
Murray Law practices in the area of franchise and distribution law and provides counsel and assistance with creating, managing, licensing, protecting and enforcing franchised business relationships, product distribution systems and dealership networks. The firm’s franchise and distribution law practice specifically relates to licensing and development, regulation and compliance, and dispute resolution through mediation, arbitration and litigation.
Murray Law’s extensive experience in the area of franchise, distributor, and dealership dispute resolution includes negotiation, mediation, arbitration and litigation in matters involving disputes over termination, covenants not to compete, trademark infringement, wrongful use and/or theft of intellectual property, breach of contract, and statutory violations. Often times the resolution of these disputes includes a demand for injunctive relief. Specifically, The firm represents franchisors in actions in both state and federal courts to enforce post-termination provisions of franchise agreements, to prevent disclosure of confidential information, and to stop the wrongful use of trademarks and intellectual property by terminated franchisees. Additionally, Murray Law represents sub-franchisors, master franchisees, area developers, and multi-unit franchisees seeking to prevent a franchisor from wrongfully terminating a franchise relationship. The firm also represents manufacturers/distributors in complex antitrust issues regarding the termination of distribution arrangements.
Murray Law provides full-service franchise legal compliance programs that include the structuring, registration and updating of franchise offering documents throughout the United States. The firm prepares all the required federal and state-specific disclosure provisions and drafts all the contracts necessary to establish, protect and enforce franchised business relationships. Murray Law also maintains the on-going disclosure, reporting and registration renewal needs of clients in strict compliance with all the federal and state laws that govern their franchise, distributor and dealer relationships.
- Representation of a business consulting franchisor in federal court action brought by franchisee alleging that the franchisor’s failure to take action against certain franchisees that were in non-compliance with franchise system standards constituted breach of contract, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, and supported other claims because the franchisor failed to fulfill its obligations contained in the franchise agreement.
- Representation of a packaging and shipping franchisor in state court action against franchisee related to the franchisee’s breach of its franchise agreement by failing to pay royalties and the franchisor’s decision to terminate the franchise agreement. Despite termination of the franchise agreement, the franchisee continued to operate and use trademarks, service marks, trade names and trade dress which infringed upon the rights of the franchisor in violation of law. The action involved claims for trademark infringement; false designation of origin; injury to business reputation and dilution; deceptive and unfair trade practices; misappropriation of trade secrets; and injunctive relief.
- Representation of home improvement franchisor in an arbitration action brought by franchisee seeking to rescind the franchise agreement and to recover damages by alleging: 1) franchisor failed to provide franchisee a Uniform Franchise Offering Circular; 2) franchisor provided false and misleading information concerning historical and projected revenue and profitability of franchise; and 3) franchisor breached the franchise agreement.
- Representation of a start-up quick service restaurant franchisor in the preparation of all state-specific disclosure provisions and the drafting of all the contracts necessary to establish, protect and enforce the franchised business relationship.
- Representation of a home improvement franchisor in the preparation of asset purchase and sale agreement to acquire assets of a franchisee.
- Representation of retail pharmacy franchisor in providing a full-service franchise legal compliance program that include the structuring, registration and updating of franchise offering and disclosure documents throughout the United States.
- Representation of master franchisee for an office supply system in resolving disputes with Florida franchisees over issues involving system standards, training, system support, and royalties.
- Representation of casual dining restaurant franchisee in the purchase of a franchise unit and the acquisition of real estate for the franchise business.
- Representation of licensor and its president in federal court action brought by licensee claiming that the licensor’s business arrangement constituted a franchise and that the licensor failed to comply with state and federal franchise laws.
- Representation of a foreign manufacturer in state and federal court actions arising out of dispute over the termination of distribution arrangement for home security systems. Distributor requested and obtained from an arbitrator an interim order freezing the foreign manufacturer’s U.S. assets stored in a bonded warehouse facility. Distributor filed a verified petition in state court to confirm the arbitrator’s interim decision freezing the assets of manufacturer, and also requested an emergency hearing to prevent the manufacturer from removing any assets out of the United States. Foreign manufacturer filed a federal declaratory judgment action coupled with a request for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief seeking to enjoin distributor from proceeding with the arbitration which clearly exceeded the scope of the arbitration clause contained in the parties’ agreement.
- Representation of a domestic clothing manufacturer in a state court action brought by a distributor claiming that the manufacturer’s decision to cease selling its merchandise to the distributor following the request of another distributor that the manufacturer deal only with one distributor in a certain geographical area constituted an unreasonable vertical restraint on competition in violation of Florida’s antitrust laws.
- Representation of an investment company in the acquisition of a restaurant franchise system.