AUSTIN, Texas - There's no shortage of Longhorn pride in Austin. It's not hard to find fans touting the famous Hook ‘em symbol. But a very similar sign, the symbol of rock and roll and the American Sign Language sign of love could possibly be trademarked, if rocker Gene Simmons' application is successful.
“You can take an everyday symbol for example, and as long as you're using it in connection with a limited set of goods and services, you can have exclusive rights,” said Brian Hall, attorney at Hall Law in Austin.
The only difference between the two is the placement of the thumb, and the University of Texas isn't happy about the kiss rocker's decision. On his twitter, UT president Gregory Fenves says Longhorns have been using that symbol since the 1950's. Even though the signs are slightly different, they are a bit too close.
“It creates a likelihood of consumer confusion or it could dilute it in a way that tarnishes the UT brand,” said Hall.
The Hook ‘Em sign is rooted in Texas history and culture and many people want that to be protected, like Gabriel Trinidad.
“I certainly get how the horn nation would see that as blasphemy,” said Trinidad.
The longtime fan has had this sculpture up for three years, and hopes the university fights for the symbol.
“There's no doubt in my mind that the University of Texas will go to every length they possibly can to protect. I'm not sure that Gene has any idea the fight he's getting ready to have,” said Trinidad.
The university had this to say this Friday afternoon:
“It's never a surprise to see other people hold up a gesture similar to our beloved Hook 'em Horns, which Longhorn fans have held high since 1955. We promise, however, not to sing "Beth" at the end of our football games.”