Franchise and Distribution

Our Franchise and Distribution attorneys represent franchisors in a variety of fields, including hotels, restaurants, convenience stores, retail, automotive, and personal services. Our attorneys have hands-on experience with the operating problems of franchise companies, as well as deep expertise in registration and regulatory law.

Compliance with franchise laws often has the highest priority, but a maze of other laws also affects the development of franchise and distribution networks. 

Venable has extensive experience in areas of the law beyond franchising and distribution. These include advertising and marketing, construction, real estate, intellectual property, bankruptcy, labor and employment, environmental, finance, estate planning, securities, tax, and others. Our franchise lawyers draw on these strengths in meeting the business goals of clients. 

Experience at Every Step: From Franchise Concept to Global Network

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Practice Focus

  • Acquisitions/mergers of franchise systems 
  • Formation of investor groups 
  • Franchise agreements 
  • Franchise offering and registration documents
  • General counsel to franchisees and franchisors
  • Litigation in franchise disputes 
  • Private equity transactions 
  • Real estate and lease disputes
  • Sales of multi-unit systems 
  • Tax advice to franchise systems


  • We negotiated hundreds of franchise agreements for an international hotel franchisor
  • We successfully litigated franchisee/dealer terminations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and Texas
  • We assisted a manufacturer/distributor in licensing its technology and trademarks in eight foreign countries
  • For a national advertising fund of one of the largest fast-food franchisors, we completed a tax-based restructuring, negotiated endorsement contracts, created standard form agency agreements, and successfully concluded two consumer protection disputes
  • For a 50-state vehicle rental franchisor, we structured a nationwide state income and sales tax compliance plan