Bellaire, MI asked in Business Law for Michigan

Q: Can the previous franchise we owned legally force us to repaint our vehicles?

We owned a Servpro restoration franchise. 2 years ago we sold our license instead of renewing, and went on our own. We took all labeling off the vehicles. Servpro is now telling us that we have to have the vehicles repainted. They do not have the color trademarked. The vehicles were never registered in our Servpro franchise name. They were registered personally. We are now being contacted by their legal department saying we must repaint them

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1 Lawyer Answer
Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris
Answered
  • Farmington Hills, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: The franchisor can make you stop using their trademarks. You may be correct that the color is not a trademark, but did you agree in the franchise agreement to comply with this request? If repainting is not covered by the agreement or by trademark law or by state competition law (which might be another basis for their claim that the color identifies the vehicles as "Servpro" vehicles), then I believe that you are in the clear. You should consult with a lawyer to review these issues and to respond to the franchisor's lawyers.

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