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The Yau Law Firm
Focused on Protecting Businesses and Representing the Injured

From Emblems to Empires: Franchising Through Trademarks [Blog Talk Radio Episode]


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Blog Talk Radio’s “Business Talk” show co-host, Jo-Anne Yau, presented, “From Emblems to Empires:  How Trademarks Become Franchises.”  Ms. Yau discussed how a protected brand can evolve into a franchise chain.  Her guest was Franchise Law professor and former CEO of the Arthur Treacher’s Fish & Chips franchise, Jim Cataland.  Hetook listeners through the  step by step process of franchising a business, and evaluating whether a particular business was a good candidate for growth.

Trademarks are virtually anything that uniquely identifies the source of goods and services.  Once businesses are successful in marketing their concept, naturally, others begin to approach them for opportunities to share in the success.

Ms. Yau advised that an expert should perform a business valuation to develop a franchising strategy.  Mr. Cataland shared his experience and advice as an expert in business evaluations.  Prior to teaching at Florida Coastal School of Law, he was renowned across the nation for having “masterminded a piece of financial wizardry,” for his role in restructuring Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips after it filed bankruptcy, and he eventually sold as a publicly traded company.

Mr. Cataland notes that the concept of franchising is simply an economical structure for consistent business growth.  To first start in franchising you must begin with a successful business, consumer appeal, and consistently providing quality goods and services.  If you have something that is working, the critical step is protect it, because trademark protections of the brand are the heart of any franchise system.  He warns that protecting your brand is paramount, because licensing that brand is how a business grows, and trademarks are the avenue for enforcing franchisees’ exclusive use.

For listeners considering franchising, Mr. Cataland offered some food for thought. First, he recommended self-evaluation:  whether a brand could be protected, whether the business model was unique, and whether the product or service was in demand.  Next, he suggested that all businesses become more efficient.  Tightening up the operations means that there are systems in place, like an operations manual and training program, that sets the standard on how the services should be provided.  Documented policies make a business replicable for franchisees, and puts standards into place.

Mr. Cataland commented on franchising as a popular business model, because as a franchisor, the business as a whole grows with the capital from independent business owners.  As for franchisees, they have the benefits of being in business for themselves, but not by themselves.

The show also included advice on negotiation of commercial leases, franchise investment expectations, and preparation or evaluation of the FDD, the Franchise Disclosure Document.

A franchise attorney and qualified experts can assist prospective franchisors and franchisees turn emblems into empires.

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