wisconsin franchise law

Wisconsin is a franchise registration state, which means that before a person sells or offers to sell a franchise in the state, they must submit and register their Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) with the Securities Division of the Wisconsin State Department of Financial Institutions. It is also important to note that FDD registration is an annual online process and must be renewed yearly or sooner if any significant changes occur. However, while the process may sound simple, there is much more to these laws and how the franchise process works. That is why, in the post below, we have provided a basic overview of Wisconsin’s franchise laws and who to reach out to for further information.

What Is a Franchise?

In Wisconsin, a franchise is defined as an agreement where the:

  • Buyer is allowed to sell, offer, or distribute services or goods under a seller’s prescribed marketing plan. 
  • Business operation is substantially related to a trademark or another commercial symbol that designates, is owned by, or licensed by the seller and
  • Buyer pays a franchise fee.

Registering a Franchise in Wisconsin

If an individual wants to register a franchise in Wisconsin, they can do so through an online application system. As part of the registration, an individual must fill out the application and include the appropriate exhibits and filing fees. Moreover, they will also need to provide the following details:

  • The name of the franchisor, the trade name, contact details, and the primary address of the business 
  • The state where the franchisor will register
  • A Uniform Consent for Service of Process
  • A filing fee

Unlike other states, Wisconsin’s laws do not allow franchisors to be able to “renew” their registration. As a result, they must register and complete this process annually. However, when an individual files their application, they will be automatically registered since the state does not do a formal review.

What Happens if There Are Changes to the FDD?

If a person makes any significant changes to the information included in their Franchise Disclosure Document, they will need to submit an amendment application within 30 days. However, it is not always clear what these significant changes entail. As a result, many individuals consult with an experienced Wisconsin franchise attorney for guidance on whether their changes would result in an amendment. 

Does Everyone Need To Register a Franchise in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, some franchise sales are exempt from registration. For instance, a franchise sale is usually exempt if the franchisee has been in business for over two years, and sales from the new agreement will not account for more than 20% of the franchisee’s gross sales revenue for at least a year. However, to better understand these exemptions, consider reviewing the regulations with a skilled franchise attorney who can help you understand what exemptions apply and whether an exemption covers you.

Reach Out To FortmanSpann Today for More Information About Wisconsin’s Franchise Laws

If you want to learn more about Wisconsin’s franchise laws or speak with an experienced franchise attorney about the process, contact FortmanSpann today and let our legal team show you how we can help.