Over the years, we have seen and heard many different attempts at registering different trademarks.
In this occasion, Gene Simmons, famous rock star, and Kiss' front man, has now filed an application to register the famous "Rock On" sign as a trademark, claiming it to be of his own.
In the application, filed last June 9th, 2017, before the US Patents and Trademarks Office (see link below), Simmons claims that he first used the sign in November 14th, 1974; this is, during the Hotter Than Hell Tour. It aims at protecting class 41 services: Entertainment, namely, live performances by a musical artist; personal appearances by a musical artist.
The application describes the sign as consisting "...of a hand gesture with the index and small fingers extended upward and the thumb extended perpendicular" (from the application), as you can see in the image that was filed in the application before the Office.
Should this trademark be registered, it would mean that Mr. Simmons would have exclusive rights over the sign, and could consequently force other artists to cease in the use of it in their live performances, and even lead to claims for damages.
Of course, this matter is still quite new, and it still has to go over the regular examinations and the opposition period, and it is highly likely to face official objections and a series of oppositions from third parties. Indeed, the sign is very well-known, and used worldwide in rock concerts and performances, by almost every rock band.
However, it might be worth the while to keep an eye on this case, as it may still be registered, and could mean a strong precedent in this matter, and would have serious repercussions in the music industry.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.