Ownership conflict between franchiser and franchisee - Google TOS owner definition
Hello Google My business Community,
I have a ‘potential’ ownership dispute query that I haven’t been able to answer on behalf of one of my clients via the awesome go-to guides. (I won’t publish the client’s disputed listing(s) as I don't think it is appropriate – but I also don’t think it is necessary to uncover the answer to my query).
One of my clients, I'll call them ‘local brand inc. has a current 30 year franchisee relationship with a widely known global rental franchiser (global brand inc).
Their franchise agreement states that they can trade under a combined name – ‘local brand global brand’.
Their trading name is not too dissimilar to how the GMB guidelines state how an acceptable listing can be named under the ‘Two or more brands at the same location’ section in respect to franchise arrangements e.g.: "TCC Verizon Wireless Premium Retailer", "U-Haul Neighborhood Dealer".
My client operates out of 8 physical locations and either own the lease agreement or property title the locations the disputed GMB profiles are listed. The name on the signage/awnings of the buildings display the ‘local brand global brand’ name.
Local brand inc setup and verified their listings for their 8 profiles originally titled ‘local brand global brand). Yet at some point in time ‘global brand’ acquired ownership of these listings (my client was not sure if this is something they authorized, but they haven’t paid much attention to citation/profile management to be honest and they probably haven’t appreciated the value of GMB until now).
Global brand inc after acquiring ownership changed the GMB listing titles to ‘global brand’ only and linked their own globalbrand.com website to each profile.
This is not a great result for the franchisee as they are reliant on local customers in respect to inside and outside category business not represented under the global brand franchise label (representing about 60% of revenues – so extremely important).
I.e. on a google SERP, local entries of ‘local brand’ or ‘local brand global brand will return a local GMB listing titled 'global brand’ and link o a website landing page- globalbrand.com/locallocation.
So here comes my question:
Which entity should be the rightful ‘owner’ as per Google TOS?
I don't want to recommend my client request ownership back until I correctly understand the Google Terms of Service (they’ve flagged they may be unwilling to do this).
Where the TOS states, ".........you confirm that you are the owner of the entity listed on the page or an authorized agent who is able to bind others on behalf of the entity'.
The potential dispute is between two entities – in the scenario above, the party who has ‘current’ ownership of the GMB listings has their brand name at the displayed name of the disputed GMB listings.
The other (my client) is licensed to use the current owners name within the trading name as listed within the trading agreement entered into with the global entity, and localbrand inc own the exclusive lease agreements and land titles to which the 8 disputed listing are represented.
My first course of action would be to negotiate a good out come with Global brand inc on behalf of my client local brand inc as they’ll need to maintain an ongoing relationship– but I just want to confirm I understand what their legal rights are before I start that process as a tool of negotiation.
Thank you, contributors in advance!