TVJ calls for respect as TAPE eyes appeal on ‘Eat Bulaga’ trademark case
Updated 2:04 p.m.
Comedy trio Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, Joey de Leon called for respect as their erstwhile production studio Television and Production Exponents (TAPE) Inc. made known its plan to appeal the ruling of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPhl) Bureau of Legal Affairs which cancelled the latter’s right over the iconic “Eat Bulaga” brandname.
Speaking at a press conference on the set of their own noontime show “EAT” on TV5, the Sotto brothers and de Leon, collectively known as TVJ, insisted on their exclusive right as originators to use the “Eat Bulaga” and “EB” trademarks. The press conference was also attended by their lead counsel Enrique dela Cruz.
“Yesterday, the Intellectual Property Office’s of legal affairs decided that we, Tito, Vic, and Joey, are the rightful owners and originators of the trademark ‘Eat Bulaga’ and ‘EB,’” Tito said, reading from their camp’s statement.
Tito said their position on the trademark case stands on solid ground, thus, “we, TVJ, have the exclusive and absolute right to register the said marks and all its variations.”
The noontime hosts said TAPE “failed” to prove that it “conceptualized” the “Eat Bulaga” name and trademark, thus proving TVJ’s stand over who truly owns the rights.
“It is Joey who coined and created these marks in 1979 in my kitchen in White Plains,” Tito continued, recalling how the “Eat Bulaga” name was made. “He explained the origination and significance of each name that comprises ‘Eat Bulaga.’”
“The IPO said that ‘It is not the application or the registration that confers the right of registration,'” Tito quoted from the IPOPhl’s decision. Thus, it is only them who have the right to register the “Eat Bulaga” trademark.
The former senator further said that TAPE Inc. president and CEO Romeo Jalosjos Jr. “corroborated” their narrative by saying he merely chose the name “Eat Bulaga” from among the list of names that were provided to him.
On TAPE’s plan to file a motion of reconsideration of the IPOPHL-BLA’s decision, de Leon said the parties should accord respect to the government agency’s decision.
“Mayroong pinakaimportanteng salita ngayon, ang respeto. Ayan ang pinakamabigat (There’s a more important word now, respect. This carries more weight than anything else),” said de Leon.
Vic echoed his co-host remarks, saying it will make things “easier” for both camps if only the parties would be more respectful. “Kapag nagpakita sila ng respeto, titigil sila sa paggamit ng hindi sa kanila. Edi mas masaya (When they show respect, they will stop using what is not theirs. Then we’re both happy).”
Further developments on when they can use the “Eat Bulaga” name are yet to be disclosed, as TVJ revealed that they will “sit down and discuss” their next steps following the “EAT’s” Dec. 6 broadcast.
Vic further claimed that while he was he was not overly concerned about his legal rights. “Di ako masyadong maalam sa legalities. Ang alam ko lang at nararamdaman ko ay ang ‘moral rights,'” he said.
Vic said the decision did not immediately sink in as he was more concerned about his wife Pauleen and their daughter Tali, who were at the time riding the Ferris Wheel in Tagaytay when a magnitude 5.9 quake struck soon after the IPO decision came out.
Tito, meanwhile, lamented that while TVJ know that they had the right to use the “Eat Bulaga” trademark, there was deception on the part of the other party in applying for trademark before the IPO without their knowledge.
“We created it, nurtured it, we fostered it all throughout these years tas malalaman namin 2013 na may nagfile pala ng trademark. Masakit sa loob noon. As a matter of fact di namin alam, puro merchandising, nagbebenta using the trademark. So it was unfair,” he said.
Dela Cruz said TVJ could have used the brandname and trademark if they wanted to despite TAPE’s application at IPOPhl since it was merely for merchandise and not for a TV show or entertainment.
“So pwede nilang (TVJ) gamitin talaga (‘Eat Bulaga’ trademark). Sila (TVJ) ang nagdecide na huwag gamitin dahil nirespeto nila ang batas, ang registration na ginawa ng TAPE bagamat sa opinyon namin mali yon. Nirespeto nila yung proseso. Sabi ng TVJ sige, tayo ang mag adjust,” he said.
“Ngayon lumabas yung desisyon nagsasabi na ang creator ang may karapatan, TVJ. Sana inaasahan naman namin na respetuhin din naman nila yung desisyon. Habang nag aapela sila, wag na gamitin (yung trademark) bilang respeto. We can only expect that they will do the same,” the lawyer further said.
Asked by a reporter if TVJ now felt vindicated with the trademark grant of IPOPhl, Tito said their group has a registration for entertainment. This brings them vindication as this highlighted the more important parts of the trademark issue.
De Leon, however, said vindication wasn’t quote the right term to use. “Mababait na tayo e, mababait kami e. Pag tumagal ka ng mga 50 years… babait ka e. Wala na yung paghihiganti sa puso mo. Nangingiti ka nalang. Katulad nito, biyaya lang ito na ‘Ay salamat naman, para sa mga tagahanga at followers namin, kung may mga buhay pa,'” he said.
For his part, Vic said it initially hurt them to have to let go of the title and brand that they had “created, fostered, and nurtured”.
“Yung pinatitigil kami, pinaaalis kami sa programang minahal namin ng 4 na dekada na pinaghirapan na i-create, dugo’t pawis tapos bigla sasabihin na, ‘Out na kayo.’ Masakit…. But itong mga developments na ito, mas nagi-inspire sa amin na ituloy. Sabi nga ni Ellen, ‘Laban, Laban lang,'” said Vic, referring to “EAT’s” resident AI doll.