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TAPE says TVJ cannot file copyright infringement charges amid 'Eat Bulaga!' trademark battle

By NICK GARCIA Published Jul 13, 2023 10:30 am Updated Jul 13, 2023 10:47 am

Eat Bulaga! producer TAPE Inc. stressed that the noontime show's former hosts TVJ—Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey De Leon—cannot file copyright infringement charges against it and GMA Network.

According to The Philippine STAR, TAPE's legal counsel Maggie Garduque in a statement noted that the Eat Bulaga! name, design, and logo are the subject of trademark and not copyright.

According to the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), a trademark is a word, a group of words, sign, symbol, logo, or a combination thereof that identifies and differentiates a business from others. Copyright, meanwhile, is the legal protection extended to the owner of the rights in original literary, scientific, and artistic works.

"TAPE Inc. has the registration of the tradename Eat Bulaga! so they cannot file infringement against the registered owner of the trademark," Garduque said, adding that TVJ's petition to cancel the Eat Bulaga! trademark of TAPE, Inc. is still pending before the IPOPHL.

"[U]ntil such time that said petition is granted, the trademark Eat Bulaga! and EB will be owned by TAPE, Inc."

GMA Network, for its part, said it will refer the complaint to its legal counsel.

TVJ filed their copyright infringement and unfair competition complaint before the Marikina Regional Trial Court on June 30. The defendants received the summons on July 12, saying that they are given 30 days to submit their reply.

TVJ has an ongoing rift with TAPE Inc. They announced they have parted ways with the EB producers last May 31 after rumors about an Eat Bulaga! rebranding—and the trio getting fired—broke out amid financial losses. After the announcement, staff members, including hosts, writers, sales, production, and cameramen, tendered their resignation.

Eat Bulaga! went on with its live airing and introduced a new set of hosts on June 5, while TVJ and other Dabarkads joined TV5 and aired their new show E.A.T. on July 1.