television industry

TAPE appeals Eat Bulaga trademark cancellation

Isagani de Castro Jr.

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TAPE appeals Eat Bulaga trademark cancellation

LABAN. Paolo Contis, host of TAPE Inc.'s Eat Bulaga!, says the trademark dispute with Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon is not over, on the noon show's episode on December 6, 2023.

Screenshot/Eat Bulaga! livestream

TAPE lawyer Maggie Garduque says everyone should respect the appeal process, and there is no final ruling yet on two trademark cases involving the use Eat Bulaga for merchandise and for entertainment

MANILA, Philippines – Television and Production Exponents Incorporated (TAPE) has filed an appeal before the Bureau of Legal Affairs of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) that seeks to reverse an adjudicator’s decision cancelling its trademark registration of Eat Bulaga and EB. 

In a press conference on Wednesday, December 13, Maggie Garduque, lawyer for TAPE, said they still have the right to use the trademark, and there is yet no final decision from IPOPHL. She said they filed their appeal on Tuesday, December 12.

TAPE is the blocktimer of the Philippines’ longest-running noon show, Eat Bulaga!, on GMA-7, the country’s number one free television channel.

Garduque was referring to two rulings: a December 4 decision by an IPOPHL adjudicator cancelling TAPE’s registration of Eat Bulaga for merchandise, and a separate ruling on Joey de Leon’s trademark registration of Eat Bulaga for entertainment services. 

Joey de Leon wins separate trademark case on use of ‘Eat Bulaga’ – lawyer

Joey de Leon wins separate trademark case on use of  ‘Eat Bulaga’  – lawyer

Garduque said IPOPHL’s website on these trademark cases still says pending, and that the adjudicator’s December 4 ruling did not order TAPE to stop using Eat Bulaga and EB. 

“You can read the decision and it’s nowhere to be found po na mayroong nakalagay na ganun. Dahil sa wala pong nakalagay na ganun ay susundin lang po namin kung ano ang nasa desisyon,” she said. 

(You can read the decision and it’s nowhere to be found there. Since there’s none, we will follow what is written in the decision.)

Bureau of Legal Affairs Adjudication Officer Josephine Alon ruled on December 4 that comedians Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon (TVJ) were the creators of Eat Bulaga.

“Having sufficiently established how Petitioners coined the Eat Bulaga mark, it is petitioners [TVJ] and not Respondent-Registrant [TAPE] who owns the mark,” Alon said in her ruling on the use of Eat Bulaga and EB for merchandise such as clothes, bags and shoes.

“Based on the foregoing and considering that Petitioners are the originator of the Eat Bulaga mark, the Bureau resolves to grant Petitioners petition to cancel Certificate of Registration No. 4-2011-005951,” she added. 

Likewise, with respect to De Leon’s trademark registration of Eat Bulaga for entertainment, Garduque said no final award has been given to the comedian, who thought of the title back in 1979. 

“Pending pa po siya kasi wala pang pinal na desisyon. It’s only at that point na maging final ang desisyon ng isang kaso doon lang po mae-execute, in this particular case, cancellation, doon lang po maka-kansela. So, ang posiyon po ng TAPE is, as of now, we still have the registration of the trademark of Eat Bulaga,” she said.

“There’s still no award being given to Joey de Leon as regards to registration or trademark registration of the Eat Bulaga trademark,” she added.  

(It’s still pending so there’s still no final decision. It’s only at that point when there’s a final decision of a case that it can be executed, in this particular case, cancellation. That’s when it is cancelled. So, the position of TAPE is, as of now, we still have the registration of the trademark of Eat Bulaga.)

Garuque said TAPE believes it still has the right to use the trademarks Eat Bulaga and EB for its show on GMA-7. 

On the calls, including from TVJ, that TAPE should respect the rulings, Garduque said people should also respect the appeal process that TAPE is following. 

“Kaya po umaapela kami sa Bureau of Legal Affairs director. It’s the same respect na kahit po para sa amin ay hindi man kami agreeable sa naging desisyon ay irerespeto po namin ang proseso, ang legal process at magpa-file po kami ng appeal,” she said.

(That’s why we appealed with the Bureau of Legal Affairs director. It’s the same respect that even if we don’t agree with the decision, we will respect the process, the legal process and we will file an appeal.)

Garduque said it was TAPE chairman Romeo Jalosjos Sr. who picked the title Eat Bulaga for the show from a list shown to him, which TAPE formally registered with the government. 

She previously said that a Supreme Court ruling on the CYMA trademark dispute supports their stand. 

IPOPHL acknowledged on December 6 that its adjudicator Alon’s ruling isn’t final, adding that TAPE can appeal up to the head of the office, Director General Rowel Barba.

TAPE can also go up to the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court if it continues to get adverse rulings.

Eat Bulaga! competes with TVJ’s E.A.T. on TV5 and ABS-CBN’s It’s Showtime now shown on GMA-7’s sister channel, GTV. Eat Bulaga! is now led by former Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and actor Paolo Contis.

TVJ had a bitter corporate dispute with TAPE’s owner, former congressman and ex-convict Romeo Jalosjos Sr., which prompted them to leave the production company in May and move to tycoon Manny Pangilinan’s TV5 on July 1 this year. – Rappler.com

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Isagani de Castro Jr.

Before he joined Rappler as senior desk editor, Isagani de Castro Jr. was longest-serving editor in chief of ABS-CBN News online. He had reported for the investigative magazine Newsbreak, Asahi Shimbun Manila, and Business Day. He has written chapters for books on politics, international relations, and civil society.