The concept of franchising can be traced back at least to the Middle Ages, when artisans were allowed to hang their guild signs, but had to meet certain criteria before they could practice their trades. As a modern business concept, franchising traces its roots to the Singer Sewing Company...
The concept of franchising can be traced back at least to the Middle Ages, when artisans were allowed to hang their guild signs, but had to meet certain criteria before they could practice their trades. As a modern business concept, franchising traces its roots to the Singer Sewing Company distribution system, and, as a very modern day business concept, to the rise of current franchising systems like McDonald's and Holiday Inns. Today there are thousands of franchise companies in the United States, with franchisee ranging in number from a single unit to over 10,000.
As an area of academic study, however, franchise law is a new kid on the block. There are only a handful of law schools, maybe ten, that offer franchise law as a course of study. Many casebooks are constructed by academics who have spent the primary portion of their careers in teaching environments. This casebook is different. Some of the contributors are full-time faculty members and some have taught franchising in various law schools, but most have been private practitioners for the bulk of their careers. Collectively, the practitioners have spent more than 500 years working with clients in the real world and thinking about the kinds of questions that the book explores. They are some of the best and the brightest, and the most experienced in the field of franchise law. Their experience brings to this casebook a blend of theoretical and practical perspectives on the legal and policy issues raised by franchising as a business model.
Franchising Cases, Materials, & Problems is designed for use in a franchise law course. The introduction and the chapter on the history of franchising offer broad perspectives on the material that later chapters explore in greater depth. A teacher who wishes to emphasize the role of intellectual property concepts in franchise law can assign the chapters on trademarks, trade secrets, and copyright in full as well as parts of other chapters. A teacher who prefers to emphasize the regulatory aspects of franchise law can assign the chapters on disclosure and relationship laws in full, supplemented by parts of other chapters. Together, the chapters on regulation raise provocative questions concerning American federalism. The chapter on other types of business relationships highlights both the difficulty of defining the legal term franchise" with precision and the remarkable variety of business relationships that franchise laws may govern.