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Report of the Franchise, Distribution and Licensing Law Committee

Since our last report the Franchise, Distribution and Licensing Law Committee has had two significant occurrences. On January 29th, the Committee held a meeting in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Business Law Section. An (unusually) robust group of 23 franchise attorneys, ranging from those with long time experience in the field to younger folks seeking to learn about this area of law, attended the meeting, which was held at the New York Midtown Hilton Hotel. The meeting featured a presentation by Michael H. Seid, founder and Managing Director of MSA Worldwide, (together with your Chairman) regarding the means, methods and criteria utilized in evaluating whether a business is suitable for formulating a franchise program. The presentation, which included a variety of forms of agreements and other franchise related documents, was designed to qualify for CLE credit, which was likely a factor in the increased attendance at the meeting. Mr. Seid, one of the foremost franchise consultants in the industry, provided a variety of anecdotal examples and general information which proved to be of great interest to those in attendance.

On March 13th, your Chairman, together with Tom Pitegoff and David Oppenheimer, former Chairs of the Committee, and Kevin Kerwin, an attorney representing the New York State Bar Association, met with representatives of the New York State Attorney General's Office to discuss the status of proposed modifications to the New York Franchise Sales Act that had been previously drafted by a subcommittee of the Franchise, Distribution and Licensing Section. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the proposed modifications to the current statute, with a goal of reaching a consensus with the Attorney General's Office with the hope, if possible, of presenting a "united front" to the New York State Legislature in seeking to formulate a bill amending the present statute. Our Committee is seeking to make the New York law more "friendly" to the franchise industry, generally, and to make it consistent with the Federal Trade Commission Rule, the federal statute which regulates franchise offerings. The meeting, which was held at 120 Broadway, in Manhattan, was productive and will, hopefully, set the stage for further discussions with the Attorney General's Office with respect to this proposed legislation, which is now on the Bar Association's "list of priorities." For further information regarding the Committee and its activities or with respect to the next Committee meeting, please contact Committee Chair Richard L. Rosen (rlr@rosenlawpllc.com or at 212-644-6644).

Richard L. Rosen, Esq., Chair