Gene Simmons gives up trying to trademark the ‘devil horns’ rock hand gesture

Kiss frontman appears to have 'express abandonment' in his trademark bid

Gene Simmons appears to have withdrawn his controversial bid to trademark the iconic “devil horns” rock hand gesture.

Last week it was reported that Kiss frontman and bassist Simmons had filed an application to the US Patent and Trademark Office, claiming to have first popularised the now-ubiquitous salute during Kiss’ Hotter Than Hell tour in 1974. Simmons was seeking to trademark the gesture for “entertainment, namely, live performances by a musical artist; personal appearances by a musical artist.”

Now an update on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website suggests that Simmons has given up with his trademark attempt. The website states of the current status of the case: “Abandoned because the applicant filed an express abandonment.”


Simmons has not yet addressed the news publicly.

The rock frontman’s actions had been widely criticised, most notably by the widow of Ronnie James Dio, someone also credited as popularising the gesture. Wendy Dio described Simmons’ legal bid as “disgusting”, “a joke” and “just crazy”, saying: “To try to make money off of something like this is disgusting. It belongs to everyone; it doesn’t belong to anyone… It’s a public domain; it shouldn’t be trademarked.”

It had also been noted that use of the gesture – or something similar – appeared to have predated Simmons’ timeline. John Lennon, for example, is seen making a similar gesture on the cover of The Beatles’ 1966 single, ‘Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby’.

Watch Kiss in an archive NME interview above.