LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Can a hand gesture be trademarked?

That’s what legendary KISS rocker Gene Simmons apparently wants to find out after he filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the familiar gesture, which consists of the index and small fingers extended upward and the thumb extended perpendicular.

A drawing included in the application shows the gesture that is often referred to as the “sign of the horns” and has been associated with everything from Buddhism to college football and, perhaps most notably, Satanic worship.

According to Simmons’ application, the hand sign was first used “as early as” Nov. 14, 1974, a date that appears to overlap with the band’s “Hotter Than Hell” tour.

Simmons – in a signed statement – claims to “be the owner of the mark sought to be registered” and that the gesture is to be used for “entertainment, namely, live performances by a musical artist” and “personal appearances by a musical artist.”

In an interview on CBC back in 2008, Simmons had previously claimed he borrowed the hand signal from comic book heroes like Spider-Man and Doctor Strange.

“I invented this baby,” he said, holding up his index and small fingers.

His claim is hardly the first on record: late rocker Ronnie James Dio, who replaced Ozzie Osbourne in Black Sabbath, is said to have popularized the sign of the horns in heavy metal music, alleging his Italian grandmother used it to ward off evil spirits.

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The late Ronnie James Dio, seen here in 2009, is believed to be the first to use the horned hand gesture. (Photo credit: Bendiksby, Terje/AFP/Getty Images)

Causing even more confusion, the gesture also means “I love you” in sign language and was most famously used by former President George W. Bush as the “Hook ‘Em Horns” hand sign for the University of Texas – a habit which once reportedly confused one Norwegian audience who mistook it for a salute to Satan.

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Then-Republican presidential nominee Texas Gov. George W. Bush give the “Hook ’em horns” sign of Texas while appearing on the “Live with Regis” show with host Regis Philbin and guest co-host “Survivor” cast member Susan Hawk in New York, 20 September 2000. (Photo credit: TANNEN MAURY/AFP/Getty Images)

Comments (3)
  1. Umm….NO. This handshape/sign belongs to the Deaf community. We’ve been using this sign for 200 years.

  2. As Alan Wilding also commented, the handshape he continues to show (without the pick in the hand) IS the ‘I Love You’ hand shape that IS a word in another language: ASL (American Sign Language). I certainly hope the patent and trademark office denies his request, as this would set a precedent that anyone could trademark any sign from ASL, which means I can’t do my job as a sign language interpreter, and Deaf people wouldn’t be able to communicate with each other in their OWN language, in public, on media, etc. He did NOT ‘invent’ this sign, nor did he invent the ‘devil horns’ sign (with thumb touching middle and ring finger). That sign is a classifier used in ASL as well, and has been used for the 200 years that ASL has existed in the United States!! (Classifiers are much like adjectives in English–they ‘describe’ a noun or verb). He needs a lesson on ASL!! This is SO outrageous and infuriating!!!!!

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