KISS might be in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and he might have received awards for his humanitarian work, but Gene Simmons is still worried about his legacy. It’s not enough to have sold over 70 million albums with his band—according to The Hollywood Reporter, the frontman is trying to trademark the devil horns hand gesture we often see at rock shows (though not necessarily just KISS shows). Simmons, whose KISS persona was/is “The Demon,” claims he first flashed the gesture—or rather, used it “in commerce”—during a concert on November 14, 1974. His trademark will cover the gesture’s use in “entertainment, namely, live performances by a musical artist; personal appearances by a musical artist.”
Simmons’ trademark application is bound to meet with some resistance—after all, Ronnie James Dio is widely credited with popularizing sign of the horns gesture. Now, that’s not quite the same gesture Simmons is trying to trademark; the drawing submitted with the application leaves the thumb out, instead of placed over the middle and ring fingers.
And there are other variations on the gesture—as io9 points out, it’s pretty similar to Spider-Man’s web “thwip” thing, which is actually more upside down, but the form is still pretty close (the thumb is definitely out, purported Simmons style). Then there’s the fact that the sign of the horns can be traced back to the Indian subcontinent, various Mediterranean cultures, and, a little more close to home, in Latin America.
Oddly, Simmons and his counsel have failed to notice the similarity between his devil horns and the American Sign Language sign for “I love you,” which could prove to be the biggest hurdle. But he didn’t write “I Was Made For Lovin’ You”—that was Paul Stanley—so we can see how he might have overlooked it.