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Gene Simmons Abandons Bid to Trademark ‘Horns’ Hand Gesture

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office says KISS bassist filed a letter of abandonment on trademark application

OK, Gene Simmons; we’ll give you a thumbs-up this time.

KISS bassist Simmons has abandoned his bid to trademark the “horns” hand gesture, a staple at rock concerts for decades, according to paperwork filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The paperwork doesn’t explain why the musician did so, but notes, “The trademark application identified below was abandoned because Applicant’s letter of express abandonment was received on Jun 20, 2017.”

Simmons filed his application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on June 9, describing the “horns” symbol as “a hand gesture with the index and small fingers extended upward and the thumb extended perpendicular.”

In the application, Simmons claimed to have first used the gesture “At least as early as 11/14/1974,” and said it has been used for “Entertainment, namely, live performances by a musical artist, personal appearances by a musical artist.”

His bid to trademark the gesture was criticized by many, including Wendy Dio, the widow of deceased singer Ronnie James Dio, who is widely credited with popularizing the gesture.

In an interview with TheWrap, Dio called Simmons’ trademark application “disgusting.”

“To try to make money off of something like this is disgusting,” Dio told TheWrap. “It belongs to everyone; it doesn’t belong to anyone. … It’s a public domain; it shouldn’t be trademarked.”

Dio characterized Simmons’ effort to trademark the hand gesture as “a joke,” and noted, “It’s just crazy.”

“It’s laughable, I think, quite honestly,” Dio said, likening Simmons’ trademark bid to trying to trademark the bird or the peace sign. “I think he’s made a complete fool of himself.”