A Reason To Celebrate



More and more these days it seems that athletes are looking to capitalize on their image just as much as they capitalize on their sporting skills.  Recently the world has heard about rap star and business mogul Jay-Z securing a roster of athletes from all different sports to help them cash in on their so-called “brand”.  International footballer Gareth Bale is another example of how this trend is just as prevalent outside the United States.  Bale, a 23-year old native of Wales, and star forward for the Tottenham Hotspurs, has filed an application to the Intellectual Property Office for a trademark for his signature goal celebration.  The goal celebration is a sign he makes with his hands of a heart, with the number 11 (his jersey number) inside the heart.

Soon an independent tribunal will be deciding if Bale can trademark his “Eleven of Hearts” logo.  Sources say that the trademark is likely to be found as valid.  On his application, Bale seeks to use the trademark on “clothing, footwear, and headgear”, as well as more obscure goods such as “animal skins, hides, sticks, whips, harness and saddlery.”  Apparently Bale has an interesting fan or two.  Creating brand opportunities for athletes has huge financial incentives.  Nigel Currie, the director of sports marketing agency brandRapport says that the logo could end up making Bale up to 3 million pounds a year.  This is in addition to the reported 85 million pounds he could be making if he is moved to Real Madrid club, which would put him in the elite company of some of the highest paid international athletes.  Are these types of trademarks ridiculous?  Do you think that the international tribunal will rule in Bale’s favor?  Apparently the goal celebration is a tribute to Bale’s childhood sweetheart, who he recently had a daughter with.  It seems that the sky really is the limit for sports stars and their opportunities to capitalize on their fame.


Mail Online



Photo: GettyImages


  1. I think a tribunal will uphold his use of the “Eleven of Hearts.” Taking a quick look at the requirements for a trademark in America, one of them is that the applicant must show the potentially trademarked item will be “use[d] in commerce” or that there be an “intent-to-use” it in commerce. In this case, Bale has the intention of using it for “clothing, footwear, headgear…” etc. So far he is off to a good start. Of course the laws that govern trademarks at an international level may be different from those in the United States but at least in America it appears he would have a strong case.

    I do not think his trademarks is ridiculous, there are plenty of other celebrities who make money outside of their particular area like Jay-Z or 50 cent with Vitamin Water. I am not saying I plan on buying his clothes, animal skins or whips what I am saying is that if he has a genuinely unique symbol let him trademark it and let the free market decide if the trademark was worth his time.

  2. I agree with Zack. If the logo is capable of being trademarked, I do not see a problem. However, this filing took place the United Kingdom. Unlike the United States, in order to receive a trademark in most of the rest of the world, all one needs to do is file, as opposed to showing actual use or an intent to use. Bale would never have to produce or sell “clothing, footwear, and headgear. . . animal skins, hides, sticks, whips, harness and saddlery” in order to keep his mark.
    I also doubt that a British tribunal would not uphold the mark because I think the logo would clearly tie into his professional brand. The key is the “11” inside the hands. In my opinion, this takes the logo from merely a hand gesture into something that would clearly point consumers to Bale. The UK Intellectual Property Office describes a trademark as “. . . a sign which can distinguish your goods and services from those of your competitors.” Whether or not Bale actually makes money with the use of this mark, as Zack pointed out, remains to be seen.

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