Paul Stanley says that he has no idea why Gene Simmons attempted to trademark the so-called "devil's horns" hand gesture.
The KISS bassist/vocalist withdrew his application to trademark the symbol late last month — less than two weeks after filing with the federal copyright office.
Most music fans slammed Simmons for the trademark request, saying the symbol has become ubiquitous and means different things to different people.
Asked by the Loudwire Podcast for his thoughts on Simmons's trademark attempt, Stanley said: "Well, you know, Gene elicits some very strong reactions from people. And what he does he does for the reasons that only he knows. So I can't really say that I have really any thought about it. It was really something that he wanted to pursue, and the reaction was how people felt about it. So I don't know why he pulled it, and I don't know why he started it. I really have no… I haven't asked him."
In his original request, which was filed on June 9, Simmons described the sign as consisting "of a hand gesture with the index and small fingers extended upward and the thumb extended perpendicular." He paid $275, seeking to use the hand signal symbol for "Entertainment, namely, live performances by a musical artist; personal appearances by a musical artist."
Gene claimed the gesture was first used in commerce on November 14, 1974, which corresponded to KISS's "Hotter Than Hell" tour. He wrote in his signed declaration that he believed "no other person, firm, corporation or association has the right to use said mark in commerce, either in the identical form or in such near resemblance."
During a recent edition of her show "The Talk", Sharon Osbourne slammed Simmons for the trademark request, accusing the rocker of "trying to make money from posters and t-shirts." She said: "He's crazy. He's trying to get money from the merch where you see this [gesture] on merch, but actually this [symbol], in Italian, which has been going for hundreds of years, means 'the devil.' That's what it means. And so kids at concerts have been doing it for years and years and years. And in '74? Where were you in the '60s when they were doing it, kid, because they've been doing it forever."
It's unclear why Simmons suddenly withdrew his application to trademark the gesture but it's unlikely he would have succeeded anyway.
Copyright lawyer Ronald Abrams told Forbes that such hand gestures can't be trademarked unless they are part of a logo. Trademark attorney Michael Cohen with Cohen IP Law Group in Beverly Hills, who deals with trademark, patent and copyright infringement cases, concurred, telling the Los Angeles Times that it would have been very difficult for Simmons's application to be approved because the gesture has become "genericized."
Simmons's version of the gesture is actually "I love you" in American Sign Language, with the thumb extended, rather than the thumb holding two middle fingers close to the palm.
Ronnie James Dio's widow Wendy also criticized Simmons for attempting to trademark the hand sign. She told TheWrap: "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."