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Gene Simmons is trying to trademark the 'rock on' hand gesture

Kiss co-founder included a diagram of the sign in his application

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Thursday 15 June 2017 13:40 BST
Gene Simmons claims he invented the 'rock' hand gesture
Gene Simmons claims he invented the 'rock' hand gesture (AP)

Gene Simmons, the co-founder of Kiss, is attempting to trademark the "rock on" gesture after claiming that he used it in its first commercial instance.

Simmons filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and said that he used it first on 14 November 1974, during Kiss’s 'Hotter Than Hell' tour.

A diagram of the action was included in the application and was described as "a hand gesture with the index and small fingers extended upward and the thumb extended perpendicular".

Simmons is making the claim for "entertainment, namely, live performances by a musical artist - personal appearances by a musical artist", according to the Hollywood Reporter.

However music afficionados have been quick to point out that he may have trouble making his case.

One Twitter user showed John Lennon’s hand on the cover of the Beatles’s single 'Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby', which was released in 1966 — a full seven years before Kiss was even formed.

Psychedelic rock band Coven also released an EP in 1969 with not one but two members flashing the sign, using the version where the thumb is pulled in - which is the more popular version of the gesture in rock music.

Many others credit it to Ronnie James Dio, the heavy metal rocker who replaced Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath in 1979.

The trademark application has been accepted by US Patent and Trademark Office but has yet to be assigned to an examiner.

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