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KISS’ Gene Simmons Seeks to Trademark Familiar Rock Hand Gesture

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You’ve likely seen it over the years — someone at shows raising their hand to the sky, two middle fingers down, pinky, pointer finger and thumb extended, mirroring what many refer to as the “devil horns.” But it’s quite possible that KISSGene Simmons could end up with a trademark on the gesture. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Simmons has filed a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, awaiting to see the ruling.

Simmons says that the hand gesture was first used in commerce with the band on Nov. 14, 1974 in coordination with the KISS “Hotter Than Hell” tour. The rocker is making the claim on the hand gesture for “entertainment, namely, live performances by a musical artist; personal appearances by a musical artist.” A diagram of the hand gesture was included with the application and can be seen here. It’s important to note that Simmons’ illustration depicts the thumb extended out, which is different from the horns with the thumb over the ring and middle fingers as popularized by Ronnie James Dio.

However, Simmons could face some challenges. The hand gesture with the “sign of the devil horns” dates back to the 5th Century BC founder of Buddhism. And there are other artists who have flashed a similar sign, including John Lennon on a cover photo of the Beatles single “Yellow Submarine / Eleanor Rigby” back in 1966.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the sign also has a different meaning in certain Mediterranean cultures, which was to imply that a man’s wife is cheating on him. Get a closer look at the trademark registration application here.

It remains to be seen if Simmons will emerge with the trademark, but the musician and KISS as a whole have continually been ahead of the curve when it comes to branding. Stay tuned to see how it plays out.

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