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FACT CHECK: Tito, Vic, Joey’s application for Eat Bulaga trademark remains pending


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FACT CHECK: Tito, Vic, Joey’s application for Eat Bulaga trademark remains pending
(1st UPDATE) Television and Production Exponents, Inc. (TAPE) currently owns the 'Eat Bulaga' trademark which is set to expire on June 14

Claim: Television hosts Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey De Leon (TVJ) won the trademark ownership of “Eat Bulaga!” 

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: A Facebook video posted on June 6 bears the caption “JUST IN- TVJ PANALO NA sa laban ng LEGAL BATTLE sa mga JALOSJOS- TRADEMARK ng EAT BULAGA sa TVJ NA!” (Just in. TVJ won legal battle against Jalosjos. TVJ now owns Eat Bulaga trademark.) It had 550,000 views, 20,000 reactions, 2,300 comments, and 1,100 shares as of writing. 

The facts: The applications for ownership of the Eat Bulaga! trademark under the trio’s names and Antonio Tuviera, former president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Television and Production Exponents, Inc. (TAPE), remain pending before the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL). 

Based on the global database of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), there were four pending applications on IPOPHL for this trademark:

  • by TVJ and Tuviera filed on February 27, 2023 (for merchandise such as clothes, and for entertainment such as television shows)
  • solely by De Leon filed on March 22, 2023 (for entertainment such as television shows)
  • by Harold Montano, an indie film actor and vlogger, who filed under his name on June 11, 2023 (for internet shows), and filed under MJ Soriano Trading Inc. on the same date (for broadcast of shows on the internet radio, television, and other forms of data transmission)

TAPE currently owns the trademark of Eat Bulaga! and its logo under the registration they acquired on June 14, 2013. It is about to expire in five days, as trademark registration lasts for only 10 years pursuant to the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines. Such registration can be renewed by a request made six months before or after its expiration. 

The same registration is, however, being challenged via a petition by the trio. The petition seeks to cancel the registration on the ground that it was obtained fraudulently. TAPE has until July 6 to answer the petition, otherwise, it will be declared in default, and the decision will be based on the “available merits and facts such as petitions, evidence submitted, records and applicable provisions of the law.” 

Tito Sotto said they will fight to use the name, Eat Bulaga!, for their show on their new station, TV5, after the trio and other Dabarkads (Eat Bulaga mainstays) left TAPE on May 31. TAPE is the show’s blocktimer on the leading network, GMA. The blocktime agreement is until end of 2024, said GMA.

Conflict: After their dispute with the Jalosjos family, majority owner of TAPE, became public weeks ago, the conflict over who owns the Eat Bulaga! trademark arose.

“In my personal opinion, ‘yun pa rin (the show’s name will still be that). As far as I am concerned, history and the law are on our side on this issue,” Sotto told TV5 on Wednesday, June 7, after they signed a deal with MediaQuest Holdings Incorporated, the company that owns TV5. “Kami ang Eat Bulaga. (We are Eat Bulaga).” 

Sotto said TAPE can now use the trademark only for merchandising, and not for entertainment purposes such as a television show. “The creators are the owners, whether copyrighted or not…. At the moment of creation, you are the owner,” Sotto told CNN Philippines on Monday, June 5.

The show’s name comes from the kid’s game, “Eeet…bulaga!” (Eeet…surprise!), which became Eat Bulaga! since the program airs at noon when people have lunch. It was created by comedian De Leon. – Ailla Dela Cruz/Rappler.com

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