Tottenham Hotspur star Gareth Bale has this week made an application to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) with the aim of securing a trade mark for his ‘Eleven of Hearts’ goal celebration.

An independent tribunal is now expected to make a decision within the next 60 days as to whether Bale should be allowed to trademark the celebration gesture. The Welshman makes a heart sign with his hands when he scores a goal and has now applied to trademark this gesture along with the number 11 which relates to his shirt number at Spurs.

If successful, some experts are already predicting that the trade mark registration could net Bale millions of pounds per year. The registration would give the Welshman a lucrative icon to enhance his own image rights and reputation as a professional sportsman. Initial reports suggest that the categories to which Bale’s attempted registration relate include clothing, footwear and jewellery. If the application is successful, Bale will be able to sell goods under the trade mark.

By way of comparison, Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo holds the rights to the trade mark “CR7’, a reference to his initials and the shirt number he wore at Manchester United. David Beckham has also maximised his image rights in a similar manner.

Bale first added the heart gesture to his goal celebration in 2010 and subsequently revealed that it was a reference to his childhood sweetheart Emma Rhys-Jones. Bale and Rhys-Jones had a daughter together last year.

We are currently witnessing an increasing number of sportspeople associating themselves with icons in a similar manner to Bale. Recent examples include Usain Bolt’s lightning pose and Mo Farah’s ‘mobot’. Registering a trade mark gives you protection should someone attempt to sell goods under your trade mark.

Here at Farleys our media lawyers regularly advise individuals on the legal implications stemming from such issues. If you have been affected by any of the above or are interested in obtaining image rights legal advice then do not hesitate to contact us today .