Franchise Law

Interested in a franchise? Buying one or selling?Franchisee or franchisor?Already in the franchise game & need some legal guidance or legal advice?

Franchises are definitely not “just another business”.Yes, they are all about business but they have their own set of rules and laws, and if you are involved already or seriously thinking about getting involved, then you need some good legal advice.

In Alberta, the Alberta Franchises Act is the place to start, but certainly not the place to end.The courts have ruled on a number of cases and will continue to do so.You need to know what the courts have said.

If you are active in franchising outside of Alberta or have it in your sights, then you will want to know what the law is in the rest of Canada and perhaps even in the US.In Canada, there is no one national set of rules.Franchises are a provincial matter and a number of provinces, like Alberta, have specific laws about franchises.  But (and there’s always a “but”) a number of other provinces do not have such rules or laws dealing with franchises.

If you expand your horizon to include the US, it quickly becomes even more complicated.

Trademark?  Copyright?  License?  What are they and what do they have to do with franchises?  A lot, and if you aren’t familiar with these terms, you should be.

Commercial lease?  Head lease?  Sub-lease?  Leasehold improvements?  Net, net, net?  Personal guarantee?  See above – you need to know.

Other than calling your friendly franchise lawyer (guess who?), a good place to start is by checking out the Canadian Franchise Association™ at www.cfa.ca.There are also some very good books in the local bookstore or library that can give you an idea of what the lay of the land is in the franchise world, plus the usual sources of information on the web.


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