‘KISS’ singer seeks trademark registration for a hand gesture

Gene SimmonsGene Simmons, leading vocalist of the rock band KISS has applied for a trademark on a hand gesture that is used commonly by rock and metal fans the world over. In the application filed with the USPTO on June 9, the hand gesture is described as “a hand gesture with the index and small fingers extended upward and the thumb extended perpendicular.”

Simmons states that he first started using the hand gesture known as ‘devil horns’ on November 14, 1974, during a musical tour. Simmons is attempting to secure the mark for “entertainment, namely, live performances by a musical artist; personal appearances by a musical artist.”

This claim is all the more surprising as the sign has enjoyed other meanings in different cultures even before 1974. The application seems unlikely that the sign described will meet the requirement of distinctiveness or subsist the dilution. The decision of the USPTO is keenly watched out for in the instant case.

In 1966, a full seven years before Kiss was founded, John Lennon was photographed on the cover of the Beatles' single 'Eleanor Rigby with a B-side of Yellow Submarine' holding up the hand sign

In order for the patent to be approved, an examiner has to decide if it's too generic to be associated with the rock star. In the United States, the sign is used for a number of things, most notably the American Sign Language symbol meaning 'I love you'

Additionally, many in the world of rock and roll credit the use to Ronnie James Dio, a heavy metal rocker who replaced Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath in 1979. But even before it's popularization in the world of rock music, the hand gesture enjoyed a long history.

 

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