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KISS’ Gene Simmons Gives Up Pursuit to Trademark Rock Hand Gesture

Theo Wargo, Getty Images
Theo Wargo, Getty Images

Following a swift backlash from his musical peers and even a university president, Gene Simmons has withdrawn his application to patent the hand gesture seen above. On Tuesday, June 20, the request was updated on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, indicating it was “abandoned because the applicant filed an express abandonment.”

The KISS co-founder filed that the hand gesture was first used in commerce with the band on Nov. 14, 1974, in tandem with the KISS “Hotter Than Hell” tour. He staked a claim on the familiar symbol for “entertainment, namely, live performances by a musical artist; personal appearances by a musical artist.”

Since the application was filed last week, a host of people have spoken out against the move from the notoriously business-minded Simmons, including Wendy Dio, widow of the late Ronnie James Dio, who is often credited with popularizing another version of the gesture while he was in Black Sabbath.

“To try to make money off of something like this is disgusting. It belongs to everyone; it doesn’t belong to anyone it’s a public domain; it shouldn’t be trademarked,” Wendy said. “It’s laughable, I think, quite honestly. I think he’s made a complete fool of himself. It’s disgusting; what does he want?”

Wendy Dio’s sentiments were echoed by Nikki Sixx, who somewhat jokingly claimed on Twitter that he was thinking about patenting the middle finger.

Esther ‘Jinx’ Dawson, singer for occult rock veterans Coven, who claim to have been using the “devil horns” symbol since 1967, posted on their official Facebook page, “If [Simmons] dares to go through with his application, I shall sue on behalf of us all.”

Even University of Texas president Greg Fenves called Simmons out, tweeting that the school’s Texas Longhorns have been using the gesture two decades before the Demon claims. “Sorry, Gene Simmons, Longhorns have been doing since the 50s — more than 20 years before KISS got going.”

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