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MANILA Philippines – An adjudicator of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines’ (IPOPHL) has ruled in favor of Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon (TVJ) for the cancelation of TAPE Incorporated’s (TAPE) registration of the trademarks Eat Bulaga and EB.
In a decision dated Monday, December 4, IPOPHL Bureau of Legal Affairs Adjudication Officer Josephine Alon ordered the cancelation of TAPE’s trademark registrations for Eat Bulaga and EB for certain uses such as merchandising.
IPOPHL’s media office confirmed to Rappler on Tuesday, December 5 Alon’s decision that was disclosed by TV5, the network where the veteran comedians moved to after leaving production company TAPE on May 31 this year. TAPE is the blocktimer of Eat Bulaga! on the country’s leading network, GMA-7.
The ruling may affect pending trademark applications filed separately by TVJ and De Leon this year for the use of Eat Bulaga trademark for entertainment shows and merchandise.
In a statement on Wednesday, December 6, IPOPHL said the “decisions were received by the parties on December 5, 2023.”
IPOPHL said the cases “initially underwent compulsory mediation,” but that they failed to reach an agreement. The petitions were then sent for adjudication, and both sides submitted their evidence.
It said TAPE can appeal Alon’s decision to the BLA director within 15 days. If still unfavorable, the BLA director’s ruling may be appealed to the IPOPHL director general within 30 days.
IPOPHL had renewed TAPE’s trademark registration over Eat Bulaga and EB on June 14, 2023 after it expired, without prejudice to the resolution of the trademark cancelation case filed by TVJ with IPOPHL.
TAPE still uses Eat Bulaga! and EB for its noon show on GMA-7 while TVJ resorted to using E.A.T. after moving the show to the Kapatid network on July 1 this year.
In her decision, Alon said TAPE “did not refute nor contradict” De Leon’s statement that it was he who suggested the name Eat Bulaga for the noon show.
TAPE had admitted that it was De Leon who suggested the name but insisted it was TAPE chief Romeo Jalosjos Sr. who chose it from among a list of names recommended for the show.
“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.
“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.
This certificate of registration was originally issued to TAPE on June 14, 2013 for the use of Eat Bulaga and EB for merchandise under Class 16 (e.g. printed materials); Class 18 (e.g. leather goods); Class 21 (e.g. household or kitchen utensils); and Class 25 (e.g. clothes, shoes).
TVJ filed on June 30 this year a complaint against TAPE for alleged “copyright infringement and unfair competition” after the Jalosjos company continued to use Eat Bulaga! and EB on GMA-7.
TAPE, however, has stopped using the Eat Bulaga! theme song.
TAPE legal counsel Maggie Garduque told GMA Network they can appeal the decision with the director of the IPOPHL’s Bureau of Legal Affairs all the way up to the director general of IPOPHL.
Eat Bulaga! on GMA-7 is now led by former Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Paolo Contis. – Rappler.com
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