Distribution, Competition, and Antitrust / IP Law

Special Franchise Statutes

Franchise relationships can be subject to various special statutes. One such statute is the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act (PMPA), 15 U.S.C. §§ 2801, et seq.  Unsurprisingly, the PMPA applies to gasoline stations.  Among other things, it prohibits gasoline refiners and distributors from terminating, or failing to renew, franchises absent the fulfillment of certain conditions, and unless one or more enumerated grounds for termination or non-renewal is met.

Of course, if a franchisee is offered and signs a renewed franchise agreement, the franchisee probably cannot maintain a claim for unlawful renewal under the PMPA.  See Poquez v. Suncor Holdings-CPOII, LLC, N.D. Cal., No. 3:11-cv-328-SC (5/26/11) (no public link available yet).

Bottom line, make certain you understand what statutes apply to your business relationship, and whether actions you have taken allow you to establish, or preclude you from establishing, elements of statutory claims.

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About Howard Ullman

Antitrust, competition, and IP law enthusiast.

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