David Beckham is facing a legal battle over who owns the right to his tattoos, because body artist Louis Malloy fears the British soccer star is making money from his designs.

Malloy designed and inked nine of Beckham's tattoos, including the famous guardian angel on his upper back, and is determined to sue should the Real Madrid ace use the images in an advertising campaign.

The 42-year-old claims Beckham, who is married to ex-SPICE GIRL VICTORIA BECKHAM, tried to force him to sign a confidentiality agreement, but he refused.

Malloy says, "I was contacted recently and told they wanted to use some of them in a campaign. I said we'd have to draw up a license agreement but then it got too complicated. So I said, 'I own the copyright, they are my intellectual property, I drew them, I didn't copy them from other sources.'

"They still think they're the owners of the images but if they use them without my permission I'd sue. There's no doubt about it."

27/06/2005 02:00