Franchisors and distributors need legal counsel from attorneys who are both deeply knowledgeable of their unique objectives and challenges and are able to foster the productive relationships that are the foundation for their businesses. Our attorneys have decades of experience working for emerging, national and international clients in franchising and distribution. We have helped our clients establish the foundation for their businesses, structure their systems of operation, develop into new markets, protect and monetize their intellectual property, and grow and expand their business concept nationally and internationally.

Our team is led by attorneys Thomas J. Kent, Jr., and Amanda Dempsey who are joined by a team of business, intellectual property and trial attorneys with experience serving the needs of franchisors and distributors across all industries. We are able to help emerging and mid-market U.S. and international companies handle all aspects of owning and operating franchise and distribution businesses.

Building a franchise

Emerging franchises need advice from legal professionals who have successfully laid the groundwork for other new and growing business. We are able to assist our clients with:

  • Structuring franchise systems
  • Preparing franchise disclosure documents and franchise agreements
  • Registering franchise offerings with regulatory authorities, nationally and internationally
  • Strategy and execution for brand and IP protection

Advice for established and growing franchises

All businesses face a myriad of opportunities for growth, expansion or change. We help our clients grow and adapt to achieve their business goals whether that is diversifying revenue, expanding their footprint, or pursuing mergers or acquisitions.

  • Developing sub-franchising, master franchise and joint venture agreements
  • Transfer, renewal and termination of franchises
  • Workout and bankruptcy advice for financially distressed franchisors and franchisees
  • Foreign country expansion and U.S. investment

Business litigation focused on your objectives

Protecting your business in today’s complex, interconnected business world requires legal counsel tailored to your business objectives. Our team understands your business and can help you pursue or respond to disputes. We help franchisors and distributors with pursue or defend against:

  • Franchise-focused dispute resolution, including litigation involving franchise systems, franchisees, vendors, and related claims
  • Trademark, copyright, patent and trade secret enforcement, dispute resolution and litigation
  • Labor and employment matters
  • Licensing and regulatory actions

Brand and IP protection

IP is at the very center of both franchise and distribution businesses, whether the IP is a name customers recognize and trust, the processes that make a business successful or the trade secrets that differentiate your products. Our team is able to work with you to develop an approach to IP that achieves your goals, whether that is opening up new opportunities or securing your mission-critical assets.

  • Federal, state, and international trademark registration and maintenance
  • Copyright registration and protection
  • Patent procurement and protection
  • Trade secret protection
  • Domain name and cyber-squatter disputes
  • Intellectual property litigation and dispute resolution


We are able to work with you to monetize your IP through licensing agreements that protect your brand, expand your revenue streams, and support the growth of your business. Our team has experience assisting clients with:

  • Licensing agreement negotiation
  • Federal, state, and international trademark protection
  • Joint ventures and strategic alliance agreements

Advocacy and counsel for distributors

Our team is well-versed in the concerns of businesses looking to create, expand or enforce distribution agreements. We can help you evaluate, develop and negotiate the parameters of compliant, effective agreements that support your business plans.

  • Distribution arrangements that are compliant with federal and state franchise disclosure and business opportunity laws
  • Alternative distribution channels
  • Supplier relationships, exclusive arrangements, pricing and rebates

Access to a full-service team

When partnering with us, you partner with a team of lawyers who are recognized leaders in their fields. Saxton & Stump is a multi-disciplinary law firm, which allows our Franchising, Licensing and Distribution clients to leverage attorneys and consultants who are well-versed in their respective focus areas.

Saxton & Stump’s Business and Corporate group can assist in general business matters, forming a new business, business succession planning, financing, governance documents and contract reviews. We have a team of experienced Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) attorneys who can assist with the purchase and sale of businesses and their assets.  Our team is also able to leverage our Labor and Employment team who represent and counsel entities of all sizes and types including healthcare organizations, manufacturers, retailers, and service industry businesses.  Should disputes arise, our Commercial Litigation is also able to pursue an efficient resolution that takes into account our client’s business goals. Our Franchising, Licensing and Distribution team also works closely with our Intellectual Property attorneys on patent, copyright and trade secret matters.