Kris Lindahl has built one of the most vibrant and visible real estate brands in the Midwest, in part by pasting photos of himself with excitedly outstretched arms on billboards, buses and just about n any flat surface in Minnesota.
This pose, which he calls “the Lindahl stretch,” has become synonymous with the brand, Lindahl said, and now he wants to stop others from using it.
The company’s attorneys recently filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that would mark the pose.
“This thing took on a life of its own,” Lindahl said in an interview Wednesday. “It’s everywhere.”
Much to Lindahl’s dismay, the pose appears in too many places. He said the success of his brokerage and his association with the pose led others to use it to promote their own businesses.
He wants them to stop, Lindahl said, in part because he wants the outstretched arms to be an even bigger part of his company’s marketing.
The company is rolling out a new marketing plan that will feature photographic images of KLRE agents in the same pose on intricately cut lawn signs that will replace the standard rectangular signs that have long been planted in front of homes that are for sale.
“Billboards are where it all started,” he said. “But it’s so much bigger now. It’s not even about me. It’s about our team and our customers, and we don’t want any imitators.”
The application, which was filed by a Twin Cities law firm, includes a description of the pose accompanied by a simple black-and-white line drawing of such a figure, including dotted lines depicting a button-down shirt, a collar and a male face. characteristics, whose application notes are not technically elements of the pose that are part of the trademark application.
“We were really intentional in thinking about the aspects of the pose that make it distinctive and recognizable,” Lindahl said.
The aspects of the pose that Lindahl seeks to protect are described in the trademark application as “a depiction of a human shown chest up, smiling and looking straight ahead with arms extended slightly higher than perpendicular to the torso and fingers splayed”.
Sheila Engle, senior trademarks paralegal at Mighty Marks, a firm specializing in working with small business owners and entrepreneurs, said such apps aimed at protecting a physical pose are extremely rare.
“In my 14 years of experience, I’ve never seen this kind of trademark filing before,” she said.
She said that while you cannot trademark the physical pose or specific arrangement of body parts, you can turn that pose into a design or silhouette to be protected by trademark registration if you use the design or the symbol to identify the source of a product. or service.
Engle said if Lindahl succeeds in filing the pose, he could claim trademark rights to this stylized image in association with the real estate services, business consulting services and business education and training services provided by his company. .
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, whose “bolting” pose has been transformed into a silhouette design used on merchandise and products, is an example of a successful trademark application for a pose.
Applying for such a mark can be expensive and time-consuming, Engle said. The Patent and Trademark Office has a historical backlog. It takes at least 10 months from the date of application to have a trademark application reviewed, she said.
The filing fee is $1,050, but before an application is filed, attorneys typically search the USPTO database to see if there are any existing trademarks. In addition to this trademark search, attorneys charge for drafting the application and filing it with the USPTO.
Kris Lindahl Real Estate has registered or filed applications covering various aspects of the pose, including a photo of Lindahl posing and slogans such as “The Arms Out Real Estate Company” and “Do the Lindahl”.