Can you trademark a hand gesture that has been used from everything as a traditional good luck symbol to sign language to “the devil sign?” Gene Simmons is trying to do just that.
The KISS frontman was in the news recently for trying to trademark the distinctive “devil horns” hand gesture. On June 9th, Simmons filed an application at the US Patent and Trademark Office, stating that “the first use of commerce” of the hand gesture was in September of 1974 during one of his performances with KISS.
As far as I understand it, Simmons is not trying to trademark the hand symbol for every usage—just for live performances and public appearances by a musical artist. But his actions have angered the family of deceased musician Ronnie James Dio, who is traditionally thought to be the originator of the symbol in the context of rock n’ roll.
But as I map out in my post “Is The Sign Of The Horns Hand Gesture Evil?,” there are even older appearances of the symbol in music history, including that by The Beatles and Coven. And the symbol—including slight variations—has been used by the original Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, Asian religions, Anton LaVey, and so on and so on.
It does bring up an interesting idea, though: would anyone try to trademark the “all seeing eye?”
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