Gene Simmons withdraws devil horns application

Gene Simmons
Gene Simmons (Image credit: Kevin Nixon)

Gene Simmons has withdrawn his application to trademark the devil horns hand gesture used by rock and metal fans all over the world.

Last week, it came to light that the Kiss star had filed an application to brand an action described as consisting “of a hand gesture with the index and small fingers extended upward and the thumb extended perpendicular.”

That drew criticism from Ronnie James Dio’s widow Wendy and Coven’s Esther “Jinx” Dawson who both slammed the Kiss star saying the gesture was in the public domain.

Now, the original papers filed at US Patent and Trademark Office have been updated and say that Simmons’ claim has been abandoned.

The papers read: “The owner of the trademark application withdrew (e.g. abandoned) the application and the application is no longer active.”

The Hollywood Reporter originally said that the bassist and vocalist claimed he first used the hand gesture in November, 1974, during the band’s Hotter Than Hell tour.

But Simmons told issue 196 of Classic Rock that he got the inspiration for the devil horns from Spider-Man and the way he shoots webs from his wrists.

Simmons said: “We laid down the templates. When you see bands rocking out in sync, that’s us. When you see bands putting up that two-fingered devil horn salute, that started with Kiss.”

When asked if it was Ronnie James Dio who actually started it, Simmons replied: “Well, I’ve heard Ronnie say that to my face and I said, ‘God bless you.’ I mean him no ill will, but I think he’s wrong.

“Mine came from Spider-Man doing his hand signal, as a homage to him. If you see me in photos, I’m sticking out my thumb. That’s the sign in sign language which means ‘I love you.’”

Former Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx added a bit of humour to the debate last week by tweeting that he was thinking of registering the ‘middle finger’ gesture.

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Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. After initially joining our news desk in the summer of 2014, he moved to the e-commerce team full-time in 2020. He maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott grew up listening to rock and prog, cutting his teeth on bands such as Marillion and Magnum before his focus shifted to alternative and post-punk in the late 80s. His favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Drab Majesty, but he also still has a deep love of Rush.