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A Fran-What?!

Surprise! You may be involved in a franchise relationship and not even know it.

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This story appears in the March 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

If you entered into a agreement, you'd know it,right? Not necessarily. In several recent cases, companiesterminating distributor relationships were surprised to learn thatthe law considered them franchisors, subject to state franchiselaws.

"Most people, including lawyers, think a franchise isMcDonald's or Ramada Inn," says Edward Dunham, a partnerin the New Haven, , law office of Wiggin & Dana whospecializes in . But legislatures designed franchise lawsto protect a wide range of small businesses that depend on theirrelationships with particular companies.

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