WIPO Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for Franchising

As part of the WIPO ADR Services for Specific Sectors, the WIPO Center provides dispute resolution advice and case administration services to help parties resolve disputes arising in the area of franchising, without the need for court litigation.

Franchising Disputes

Franchising agreements may give rise to disputes on issues that include, for instance, site selection and encroachment, franchisee development rights, renewal of franchise, alleged underreporting of fees owed, customer service and intellectual property matters.

As time- and cost-efficient alternatives to court litigation, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms such as mediation or arbitration help parties in such disputes to adopt practical and satisfactory solutions. ADR allows parties to choose a mediator, arbitrator or expert with legal and technical expertise familiar with the franchising sector, IP and dispute resolution. It provides a neutral forum in which disputes can be resolved through a single procedure. Moreover, ADR may be designed in a way so as to allow for efficient enforcement of the outcome.

Selected Areas of Dispute

  • failure to make payments
  • site selection and encroachment
  • accounting practices and procedure
  • misuse of advertising funds
  • supervision and support
  • approved suppliers
  • raw material pricing
  • unequal treatment
  • transfers by franchisees
  • customer service
  • misrepresentations
  • business system changes, re-branding
  • post-termination issues
  • licensing agreements
  • trademarks
  • trade secrets
  • know-how
  • copyright

Potential Stakeholders to Dispute

  • franchisors
  • franchisees
  • licensors
  • licensees
  • distributors
  • intellectual property owners
  • manufacturers
  • retail stores
  • joint ventures participants

WIPO ADR Services for Franchising

  • Administration of Franchising Disputes

The WIPO Mediation, (Expedited) Arbitration and Expert Determination Rules are well suited for franchising disputes.

The WIPO Rules are flexible and can also be applied in disputes that are not limited to intellectual property. In its role as administering institution, the WIPO Center maintains strict neutrality and independence.

Examples of WIPO cases in this area include a mediation between a franchisor and a franchisee both based in Asia about contractual performance and termination of the franchising agreement.

The WIPO Center also provides services for the resolution of domain name disputes. The WIPO Center has administered many domain name cases filed by entities in the franchising sector.

  • WIPO Panel of Neutrals

Effective proceedings to a large extent depend on the quality of the mediator, arbitrator or expert. The WIPO Center maintains an open-ended Panel, including mediators, arbitrators and experts from around the world with expertise in franchising disputes. They can be appointed by parties in cases under WIPO Rules but parties are also free to select mediators, arbitrators or experts from outside the WIPO Panel.

  • Procedural Guidance and Training

The WIPO Center makes available recommended contract clauses and submission agreements that parties can use to submit their disputes to ADR.

Upon request, the WIPO Center provides procedural guidance to interested parties and organizations in the franchising sector. This includes advice on the drafting and adaptation of ADR clauses in franchising related contracts and submission agreements, as well as helping to bring disputing parties to ADR.

The WIPO Center also organizes training and workshops on mediation, arbitration and related topics.

  • Establishment of Adapted ADR Frameworks

Where appropriate in light of the needs of the relevant stakeholders, the WIPO Center provides guidance in the establishment of adapted ADR frameworks, including Rules, fees and clauses, and provides administrative services thereunder.

Collaboration with Concerned Stakeholders and Entities

To optimize dispute resolution in the franchising sector, the WIPO Center collaborates with relevant stakeholders and organizations. This may include organization of joint events and training, and establishment of adapted ADR frameworks and involves for example the following:

The WIPO Center offers reduced fees under the WIPO Rules to the members of the above-listed associations.

Selected Resources


Arbitration and Mediation Center
Arbitration and Mediation Center
34, chemin des Colombettes
P.O. Box 18
1211 Geneva 20
T +4122 338 8247 or 0800 888 549
F +4122 740 3700 or 0800 888 550
Maxwell Chambers
28 Maxwell Road #02-14
Singapore 069120

T +65 6225 2129
F +65 6225 3568

General queries: arbiter.mail@wipo.int