Minnesota real estate mogul Kris Lindahl has filed a breach of contract and copyright infringement lawsuit against a Canadian realtor whom Lindahl believes has stolen his intellectual property.
The lawsuit accuses Golfi Realty, led by Ontario-based agent Rob Golfi, of copying Lindahl's "arms outreached" pose in numerous marketing mediums, including on social media, billboards and bus advertisements. The lawsuit says the most egregious copyright infringement stems from Lindahl's 2019 election campaign spoof.
Lindahl's video included American flags in the background amid a cable news broadcast setting. Lindahl approaches the podium, makes his speech and ends with his arms outreached pose. The script:
Thank you. Thank you. We need real estate of the people, by the people and for the people. I'll get you a guaranteed offer in 48 hours or less, not because it's easy, but because it's hard. Ask not what you can do for your agent, ask your agent what they can do for you. The only thing we have to fear is decluttering and cleaning.
Read my lips: No open houses.
Today, I am formally announcing my campaign of convenience. The American people deserve the opportunity to get a guaranteed offer on their home, sold in 48 hours or less. Free from cleaning, decluttering and open houses.
Are you with me? Are you with me?
In 2021, Golfi allegedly posted a nearly identical marketing video to social media. His script:
Thank you. Thank you. We need real estate of the people, by the people and for the people. I will give you a guaranteed offer in 48 hours or less, not because it's easy, but because it's hard. Ask not what you can do for your realtor, ask your realtor what they can do for you. The only thing we have to fear is decluttering and cleaning.
Read my lips: Golfi gets it sold.
Today, I am formally announcing my campaign of convenience. The Canadian people deserve the opportunity to get a guaranteed offer on their home, sold in 48 hours or less. Free from stress, inconveniences and hassles.
My promise to you is unmatched marketing to help you get top dollar for your home.
Are you with me? Are you with me?
"This lawsuit is for breach of contract and copyright infringement, stemming from a video and other intellectual property the defendant plagiarized from Kris Lindahl Real Estate. Doing so is not only against the law but also breached a contract the defendant signed with us to not copy our intellectual property," Lindahal said in a. statement to Bring Me The News.
"In this case, taking legal action was a last resort, and it followed our repeated requests and efforts to resolve the situation outside of court. We brought this action to stand up for the hard work our team puts into our successful marketing campaign and to protect our customers and agents who rely on our innovative methods to sell or buy a home."
According to the lawsuit, Golfi attended a seminar hosted by Lindahl in May 2021, prior to which he allegedly signed an agreement that prohibits "unauthorized use or distribution of the proprietary concepts, materials, and intellectual property" from the seminar.
"When confronted with its ongoing breaches and infringement of KLRE’s valuable intellectual property, Golfi Realty feigned confusion about whether Mr. Golfi did in fact sign the seminar agreement and whether he attended the seminar," the suit says.
"Golfi Realty also backtracked on Mr. Golfi’s admission to Mr. Lindahl that it copied KLRE’s protected works and promised to stop doing so. Golfi Realty’s breaches and acts of infringement continue, causing irreparable and immeasurable harm to KLRE’s brand with each passing day."
The lawsuit requests the court to order Golfi Realty stop committing breaches of contract and acts of infringement, and awarding Lindahl's company "damages as compensation."
In June, Kris Lindahl Real Estate filed a trademark request for Lindahl's pose, with the files from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describing the trademark as "a depiction of a human shown from chest up, smiling and looking straight ahead, with arms outstretched slightly higher than perpendicular to the torso and fingers splayed."
That trademark request is pending.
Lindahl provided a statement to Bring Me The News regarding the trademark filing, saying that he wanted to "prevent consumer confusion and stop industry copycats from trading on our brand." A company spokesperson told BMTN that there have been "several examples" of copycats, but no specific examples were provided.
"Our big goal here is to protect our brand for our team and our clients," Lindahl said in June, noting that the trademark was "not about us trying to stop the general public from holding their arms out or doing the pose."
Bring Me The News has reached out to Rob Golfi for comment.