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Manchin, Bipartisan Colleagues Introduce Trademark Licensing Protection Act

September 29, 2022

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Angus King (I-ME) and James Lankford (R-OK) introduced the bipartisan Trademark Licensing Protection Act, which would clarify the joint employer standard by ensuring that brand standards, issued by a franchisor to preserve or boost the brand, may not be used as evidence of employment controls in litigation. The legislation would protect the critical relationship between franchisors and franchisees and help ensure America’s franchises can continue to drive economic growth in their communities. West Virginia has around 5,000 franchise locations accounting for 44,800 jobs in the Mountain State.


“Small businesses and franchises are the heart of our economy and our communities, especially in West Virginia, where more than 98% of our businesses are small businesses. I am proud to introduce the bipartisan Trademark Licensing Protection Act to ensure brand standards are not unfairly used as evidence of employment controls in litigation, clarifying a rule that has cause confusion for franchise owners for years,” said Senator Manchin. “I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this important legislation and I look forward to getting it across the finish line and signed into law.”


“America's 775,000 locally owned franchises are open for opportunity and driving the economic recovery, but the franchise business model needs protection,” said Michael Layman, Senior Vice President of the International Franchise Association. “Today we applaud the seven tripartisan Senators for recognizing that brand standards are essential to the franchise business format, and for introducing this bill that will protect the franchisor-franchisee relationship. This legislation comes at a critical time as federal agencies seek to change the definition of employer.”

Senators Manchin, King and Lankford were joined by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), John Cornyn (R-TX), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Thom Tillis (R-NC).

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