Territorial Protection for Franchisees in Florida: Know Your Rights
Becoming a franchisee can be an excellent commercial opportunity. It is an opportunity that many entrepreneurs have successfully pursued — according to the latest government data, there are approximately 760,000 franchise businesses operating nationwide. Some of the largest franchises in the United States have thousands of locations.
For franchisees, the protection of exclusive territorial rights is paramount. Encroachment on your territory could damage or even destroy your business. If you are a franchisee and you believe that your territorial rights were infringed upon or violated in any manner, it is imperative that you contact an experienced West Palm Beach franchise law attorney right away.
Your Franchise Agreement is the Foundation of Your Rights
Franchisees are not automatically granted exclusive territorial rights under state law or federal regulations. That is not to say that there are no protections available to franchisees under Florida law — quite the contrary, there are very important regulations regarding franchisor-franchisee relationship. However, the legal protections granted to franchisees are interpreted with reference to the relevant franchise agreement. Indeed, the primary legal protections under the Florida Franchise Act (Florida Statutes § 817.416) pertain to the representations that were made by the franchisor.
As such, the basis of a franchisee’s territorial rights come from the franchise agreement and the specific statements and representations that were made by the franchisor in negotiations. When reviewing a proposed franchise agreement, pay very close attention to the language that is used to denote territorial rights. Franchisees need to make sure that they reach an agreement that provides them with adequate territorial protection.
Franchisee Rights: How to Combat Territorial Encroachment
One of the things that can make territorial encroachment cases challenging is that encroachment can take a number of different forms. Beyond the most obvious examples — such as a franchisor permitting another franchisee to operate in your direct geographic area — territorial encroachment may involve a temporary location, a sister brand or other related brand, the internet, or other alternative channels of distribution.
If you believe that your franchisor is permitting territorial encroachment that is in violation of the franchise agreement or in violation of the representations that were made to you, it is crucial that you take immediate action to protect your financial interests and the viability of your business. Do not allow encroachments to persist unaddressed. You may lose out on your rights. A Florida franchise law attorney who has experience representing franchisees in territorial encroachment disputes will be able to review your case and take the appropriate legal action.
Discuss Your Case With Our South Florida Franchise Law Attorneys Right Away
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our West Palm Beach franchise lawyers have the skills and experience needed to effectively represent franchisees in the full range of matters, including those related to territorial protection. To arrange a confidential assessment of your case, please call us now. From our offices in West Palm Beach and Miami, we are proud to represent franchisees throughout Southeastern Florida.