We have previously reported here on the news that KISS frontman, Gene Simmons, had applied to the U.S Patent and Trademark Office to obtain a trade mark over his 'devil horn' hand gesture, which consists of the index and small finger pointed upwards and the thumb extended. At the time we expressed scepticism as to his chances of obtaining that registration and it appears Mr Simmons has now reached the same conclusion.
Simmons has now decided to expressly abandon his application, within the space of three weeks of applying to the U.S Patent and Trademark Office. It is not clear why Simmons has chosen to abandon the application though his chances of successfully registering the mark were always likely to be slim.
Forbes has pointed out several problems with the practicalities of registering the 'devil horn' hand gesture as a trade mark, these include the fact that hand gestures are not generally regarded as suitable subject matter over which a trade mark can be granted, and the fact that the gesture also means 'I Love You' in sign language. Many people also pointed out that the gesture was in fact relatively commonplace amongst musicians and that its use predated Simmons' own use of it.
Simmons was also faced with the problem that even if he had been granted the mark he would have found it hard to enforce his rights, as from a practical point of view it would be extremely difficult to police use of a hand gesture such as this.
Simmons has not commented on the reasoning behind abandoning his application, but other musicians did criticise the KISS frontman for making the application in the first place. Given that Simmons owns numerous other trade mark registrations through his company, Gene Simmons Company, it is likely that he is not perturbed by the decision to abandon the 'devil horn' application however this again demonstrates that you must always consider any publicity, positive or negative, when taking decisions over the protection of your brand.Posted by: in: EU/International, Trade Marks