Dawn Newton Partner

Dawn Newton (510) 451-3300 | dnewton@donahue.com Partner

(510) 451-3300 | dnewton@donahue.com

Dawn Newton is a business attorney whose practice focuses on intellectual property and franchise matters. She is certified as a legal specialist in franchise and distribution law by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California.

As a franchise law expert, Dawn represents a broad spectrum of franchised businesses, particularly restaurants and retail concepts, and she serves as outside general counsel for several. Her experience includes:

  • Managing the regulatory and compliance work of mature franchise systems
  • Structuring new franchise systems for start-up franchisors
  • Assisting businesses with resolving complex franchise law violation situations

In addition to her franchise practice, Dawn helps clients safeguard and preserve their intellectual property, such as:

  • Trademark and copyright prosecution and licensing
  • Creating and registering new marks and expanding marks internationally
  • Developing strategies to protect and enhance intellectual property
  • Policing and responding to allegations of infringement
  • Advising on issues raised by new forms of media

Dawn has extensive experience litigating business disputes in both federal and state court, including matters involving franchise relationships, trademarks, trade secrets, and confidential business information.

Speaking Engagements

  • November 2, 2016, Fundamentals of Franchising, Forum on Franchising, American Bar Association, Miami, FL
  • September 12, 2016, The Forgotten Asset: Copyright for Estate Planners, East Bay Estate Planning Council, Oakland, CA
  • November 17, 2015, The Forgotten Asset: Copyright for Estate Planners, Barristers Section – Bar Association of San Francisco
  • October 15-16, 2015, Fundamentals 201: Drafting the Six Most Challenging Items in the FDD, Forum on Franchising – American Bar Association, New Orleans
  • June 28, 2015, Nationalizing Your Brand, 2015 Cannabis Business Summit, National Cannabis Industry Association, Denver
  • May 5, 2015, Handling Defaults and Terminations, 48th Annual Legal Symposium, International Franchise Association, Chicago
  • February 12, 2015, Franchising v. Licensing, National Cannabis Bar Association, San Francisco
  • 2013, Advanced Disclosure Issues, Forum on Franchising – American Bar Association, Orlando
  • 2010, Best Practices for Establishing a Franchise Compliance Program,  Forum on Franchising – American Bar Association, San Diego



  • “Negotiating Key Provisions,” Chapter 2, Mergers and Acquisitions of Franchise Companies, second ed., Forum on Franchising – American Bar Association, contributing author, 2014