KISS guitarist Gene Simmons says famous rocker hand symbol belongs to him, files for trademark

by: Shelby Lin Erdman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk Updated:

Musician Gene Simmons of the rock band KISS performs onstage in Beverly Hills, Calif., in 2016 as he flashes the famous hand symbol he’s trying to trademark. It’s actually the symbol for ‘I love you’ in sign language.
Frederick M. Brown

Rocker Gene Simmons is trying to trademark a hand gesture he and other rock ‘n’ rollers are known for called the “devil’s horns” or “metal horns,” but the gesture as used by Simmons also means “I love you” in sign language. 

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The KISS guitarist filed an application last week that included a drawing of the gesture with the index and pinky finger up and the thumb in a horizontal position, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That gesture is the “I love you” sign.

Simmons said the gesture was first used by him on the iconic rock band’s Hotter Than Hell Tour in 1974.

In the United States Patent and Trademark Office filing, the musician, who paid $275 for the filing, said he wants to use the hand symbol for “entertainment, namely live performances by a musical artist; personal appearances by a musical artist,” Variety reported.

The actual hand symbol for the devil’s horns or “metal salute” includes the thumb in a tucked in position.

In addition to having a long history of use by musicians, the thumb-tucked gesture is also the Hook ‘em Horns symbol for the mascot at the University of Texas at Austin, a Texas Longhorn.

It’s  unclear whether Simmons can actually trademark the sign. Fans and other musicians have expressed opposition to the effort.