State Franchise Registration Status and Franchise Laws


Registration or Filing Required? No*
Business Opportunity Laws? Yes

Maine is not a franchise registration state nor a franchise filing state. So, you may offer or sell your franchise without registering or filing your Franchise Disclosure Document (“FDD”) with the state, provided that you are compliant with the Federal Franchise Rule. However, there are certain instances where a franchisor may be required to register with the state. More information can be found on the Maine Office of Securities’ Website.

Do I Need to Register My Franchise in Maine?

Maine has enacted Regulations of the Sale of Business Opportunities, that define a business opportunity as a sale of goods or services exceeding $250 in which the goods or services enable the buyer to start a business, and the seller represents it will do one of the following:

  1. Provide locations or assist buyer in finding locations for vending machines, racks, display cases, amusement machines or devices;
  2. Buy any products made by the buyer using items sold by seller;
  3. Guarantee buyer will derive income exceeding purchase price;
  4. Refund some/all money or buy back some/all products if buyer is not satisfied; or
  5. Provide a sales or marketing plan, unless it is made in conjunction with license of a federally registered trademark

Most franchisors do not represent any of the first four factors, but virtually all represent that they will assist franchisees in starting and running their business by providing them some form of sales or marketing plan. Franchisors that fall into that category are exempt from business opportunity registration in Maine if they license a federally registered trademark as a part of their franchise sales. Franchisors may rely on this exemption and are not required to file proof of their federally registered trademark with the Office of Securities. Franchise offerings that meet one of the other four qualifications or aren’t made with a registered trademark, must continue to register in Maine.


I Don’t Have a Registered Trademark, So How Do I Register My Franchise in Maine?

If a business is required to register as a business opportunity in Maine, it must submit the required documents, including its disclosure documents, a $25 filing fee, and evidence of either a surety bond or escrow account in the amount of $30,000. This registration must be done annually – the only difference is the renewal fee, which is $10. In addition to requiring registration, the laws also prohibit business opportunity sellers from making representations regarding sales, income or profits of the business unless it has a reasonable basis for doing so.

While not overly burdensome, registering a business opportunity is undoubtedly more work, and puts more stringent requirements on the seller. Therefore, relying on a trademark exemption is the recommended path for those who can do so. If you wish to register your trademark, our brilliant trademark attorneys would be more than happy to help you register your mark. See our Trademarks page for more information.

Fun Fact: Usually the name of a state contains some sort of historical or underlying meaning. Other than the word “Maine” first appearing in writing in 1622, no one actually knows where the name came from. Some theorize is came from sailors referring to is as something like the “mainland” to distinguish it from the thousands of islands off its coast.