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.
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.