What, aside from words and logos, can be trademarked?
By Kurt Leyendecker
Gene Simmons (of the rock band, “Kiss,” fame) recently filed a trademark application for the registration of a variation of the “devil horns” hand gesture, and it has caused some uproar in the music community among fans and fellow metal musicians. Can Gene Simmons trademark a hand gesture that is essentially identical to the “I Love You” gesture in American Sign Language (ASL) and prevent others from using it?
We may never know the answer.
The Kiss bassist, apparently buckling to negative press, abandoned the application 11 days after filing it. Nevertheless, this instance begs the question: What, aside from words and logos, can be trademarked, and what are the bounds of protection of these non-traditional marks?