The owner of the now-defunct Los Angeles Kiss arena football team is once again dipping his toes into the business world. Gene Simmons—who also apparently plays bass and sings in a band called KISS—believes that he not only invented the “hand gesture with the index and small fingers extended upward and the thumb extended perpendicular,” but that nobody else should be allowed to use it without his permission. Yes, he wants to trademark the “I love you” sign.
Simmons is waiting to hear back on an application (quoted above) that he filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Helpfully—in case the above description wasn’t thorough enough—the application includes a picture of the gesture in question.
Simmons asserts that the gesture was first used for the purpose of commerce on Nov. 14, 1974, and that it is intended to be used for “entertainment, namely, live performances by a musical artist; personal appearances by a musical artist.” Somehow, Simmons believes the gesture to be indicative of face-melting hair metal rather than, say, quiet affection—and that he should own it.
Surprisingly, there is actually precedent for such a trademark, as former WWE wrestler Diamond Dallas Page successfully trademarked his kickass “Diamond Cutter” hand gesture. In fact, according to THR, Page successfully sued and settled a case with 3OH!3 over an alleged infringement of putting your hands up to make a diamond in the negative space. To be fair, anybody that saw the gesture would likely have stopped watching old WWE videos and start listening to shitty electro-pop. That’s the power of such a sign.
All this to say, it’s unlikely Simmons will succeed, given the widespread use of the symbol (typically for a totally different connotation), as well as this cover art which predates his claim by a solid eight years.
Good luck, Gene. You deserve this.