When it comes to business agreements, two terms that are often used interchangeably are franchise agreement and license agreement. However, these are two different types of agreements that serve different purposes. Understanding the differences between them can help you make informed decisions as a business owner or prospective franchisee/licensee.

Franchise Agreement

A franchise agreement is a legal contract that allows an individual or business to use the trademark, brand name, and business model of an already established company. The franchisee pays a fee to the franchisor for the right to use their business model, branding, and other proprietary information.

In exchange for this fee, the franchisee gains access to the franchisor`s established system of operations, training, support, and marketing. The franchisor provides the franchisee with everything they need to get started, including operations manuals, branding guidelines, advertising materials, and ongoing support.

The franchisor has significant control over the franchisee`s business operations, including pricing, advertising, and how the business is run. Franchise agreements typically last for a fixed period, and the franchisor may have the right to terminate the agreement if certain conditions are not met.

License Agreement

A license agreement is a legal contract that allows an individual or business to use a specific product, brand name, or intellectual property (such as a patent or trademark) owned by another organization. The licensee pays a fee to the licensor for the right to use their intellectual property.

In a license agreement, the licensor retains control over their intellectual property and does not typically provide the licensee with much support or guidance. The licensor may require the licensee to follow certain guidelines and may place limitations on how the intellectual property can be used.

License agreements can be for a fixed or indefinite period, depending on the terms of the agreement. They typically do not have the same level of control over the licensee`s business operations as franchise agreements.

Key Differences

The main differences between a franchise agreement and a license agreement are the level of control the franchisor/licensor has over the franchisee/licensee and the amount of support and guidance provided.

Franchise agreements are generally more structured, providing comprehensive support and training to the franchisee. Franchisors also have significant control over how the franchisee operates their business. License agreements, on the other hand, provide less support and guidance to the licensee and fewer limitations on how they can use the intellectual property.

Another key difference is that franchise agreements often have higher upfront costs than license agreements, as the franchisee is required to pay for training, support, and access to the franchisor`s proprietary information.


In summary, franchise agreements and license agreements are two distinct types of agreements that serve different purposes. Franchise agreements provide more comprehensive support and guidance to the franchisee, while license agreements offer fewer restrictions and less support to the licensee. Understanding these differences can help you choose the right type of agreement for your business.