Our Practices

Dedicated to serving the legal needs of municipalities, franchised businesses, employers, and public utilities.  

Franchise Brand Protection

A strong brand is one of the most valuable assets in a franchised network of businesses. It is the singular image and the common identity that customers use to identify independently-owned franchises as one organization. A substantial amount of time, energy, and money goes into developing, building, and promoting a strong brand, which is why franchisors must remain vigilant in protecting against brand abuse.

Brand Legal Protections

Federal Trademark Registration

A trademark is one of the core elements that makes up brand identity. Although brand identity goes far beyond a name or logo, the trademark itself must be protected to the fullest extent legally available. Trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) provides the legal presumption of nationwide ownership of a trademark, which gives the owner several distinct advantages in utilizing their brand and preventing others from using their brand. Our attorneys routinely conduct trademark clearance searches, prepare and prosecute trademark applications, and manage the entire trademark registration process from beginning to end. Our attorneys also monitor and manage the trademark portfolios for our franchisor clients (and others), including the filing of documents required to maintain the trademark registration.

Protecting Against Trademark Infringement

If a competitor uses a trademark that interferes with the owner’s trademark rights, this can have significant negative effects for the franchisor’s brand and business. As attorneys advocating on behalf of our clients, we take our role in brand protection very seriously. We investigate vulnerability issues and conduct a thorough online investigation of the misuse of client marks. Once we have all the facts, we counsel clients regarding the strategic options that are available, which often makes litigation unnecessary. In short, we work to resolve these disputes efficiently and cost-effectively.

If you need to bring action against an infringing entity, a registered federal trademark gives you the ability to bring an action in federal court with the presumption of validity. Our attorneys have litigated claims in federal and state courts as well as before the USPTO and the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board in opposition and cancellation proceedings.

Establishing Brand Uniformity

Franchisors must maintain control over the proper use and consistent presentation of the brand by franchisees. Effective communication of the brand encompasses everything from company-wide goals to how everyday operations are run. A franchise agreement acts as a legal safeguard to maintain brand control, consistency and protection. Our attorneys regularly put together and review franchise agreements on behalf of our clients.

Brand Misrepresentation on Social Media

Online social media is a great and inexpensive way to create brand awareness, but it also raises issues when trying to protect a trademark. As the number of brands participating in the social media environment continues to grow, so too does the chance of trademark violations. With the accessibility of the internet, it is easy to distort images or misrepresent brands. It is important to be proactive and monitor social media for misuse of your brand. Our attorneys can help.

Is your business ready to franchise or expand?

Whether you are exploring franchising for the first time or operating a well-developed franchise system, our franchise attorneys can answer your questions and advise you on the best course of action.

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At Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC, we’ve been helping municipalities, franchised businesses, employers, and more with their legal needs since 2008. We’d love to learn how we can help you, too.