TVJ on winning ‘Eat Bulaga’ trademark row: We’re on the right side of the fence | Inquirer Entertainment

TVJ on winning ‘Eat Bulaga’ trademark row: We’re on the right side of the fence

/ 12:10 AM December 08, 2023

From left: Vic Sotto,Joey de Leon and Tito

From left: Vic Sotto, Joey de Leon and Tito Sotto —TVJ/ YOUTUBE

The ball is now in the court of Tape Incorporated, after the Intellectual Property Office’s (IPO) legal affairs bureau announced on Monday that TV hosts Tito and Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon (TVJ) are the rightful owners and originators of the trademarks Eat Bulaga and EB according to the group’s legal counsel Enrique dela Cruz.

“Yes the ball is in Tape’s court now because the IPO has just ordered it [to recognize that TVJ is the owner of the trademarks]. The only thing Tape is holding on to is its registration for merchandising and goods [filed in 2011]. However, the government said this has already been canceled, that Tape was not the one that created ‘Eat Bulaga.’ Wala na silang pinanghahawakan, kaya bakit pa nila gagamitin (so why use it)?” Dela Cruz told Inquirer Entertainment during a media gathering at the “E. A. T.” studio inside the TV5 compound in Mandaluyong City on Tuesday.


With the IPO’s decision, the three hosts “have the exclusive and absolute right to register the said marks and all its variations. In this regard, the IPO canceled the trademark registration of Tape Inc. over the marks Eat Bulaga and EB. The IPO’s favorable decision is indeed a milestone and a welcoming development to our legal claims,” TVJ said in a statement.


Meanwhile, Tape Inc. would “avail of all legal actions/remedies to reverse the decision,” said legal counsel Maggi Abraham-Garduque.

“We know that we’re standing on the right side of the fence,” declared Tito. “An appeal is really part of our justice system. Everybody has the right to appeal. That’s okay with us.”

Operative word: respect

“The operative word here is respect,” added Dela Cruz. “The court has issued a decision, and they can very well appeal. That’s everyone’s right. In the meantime, will they respect the decision of the court or not? Our request to them is to respect it.”

Dela Cruz further explained the appeal process. “In 10 days, we expect them to file a bill to the director of the Bureau of Legal Affairs, who will decide the matter within 30 days. If Tape is not satisfied with the decision, they can go up. They have the option to file it before the Court of Appeals and all the way to the Supreme Court,” he began.

“Our question it that, will Tape show the same respect given to them by TVJ? While they know that TVJ created ‘Eat Bulaga,’ they still chose to use it. Now that the government has already declared TVJ as the owner, they should respect this decision,” Dela Cruz insisted.

“I guess the word that’s heavier than ‘respect’ is ‘canceled.’ You got canceled. ‘Wag na matigas ang ulo (don’t be stubborn),” said Joey, laughing.


“Aren’t you happy?” said Joey while addressing the audience. “This is all part of history. It’s only now that two TV programs with the same title are competing on national television.”

“Yes, it’s their turn to show respect,” insisted Tito. “As to when we plan to finally use the title? My answer is any time. We will sit down to discuss this right after the show,” he said on Tuesday afternoon.

“If and when they start showing respect and stop using what is ours, that, I guess, would be the right time [to use the title]. This year, we will not only have a merry Christmas, but a happy new year, too,” said Vic.

We then asked TVJ to take the audience back to the time they created the program’s title and composed its iconic theme song.

Allan K (left) and Ryan Agoncillo, who moderated the press conference on Tuesday, are seen wIth cohosts Caren Eistrup, AtashaMuhlach, Ryza Mae Dizon and Miles Ocampo. —TVJ/ YOUTUBE

Allan K (left) and Ryan Agoncillo, who moderated the press conference on Tuesday, are seen wIth cohosts Caren Eistrup, Atasha Muhlach, Ryza Mae Dizon and Miles Ocampo. —TVJ/ YOUTUBE

And the rest is history

“We were thinking of a good title because we were competing with ‘Student Canteen’ [in 1989]. The gimmick back then was to connect your name, as much as possible, to their show’s title, like ‘Student Body,’ or ‘Something Canteen.’ But I liked using Tag-lish (a mix of Tagalog and English), just like what I did with ‘Iskul Bukol’ [in 1978]. I was playing mahjong while drinking coffee in the kitchen of Tito’s house at that time. I thought, ‘Canteen’ is ‘kainan.’ Then ‘bulaga’ translates to ‘surprise.’ Our show was a ‘surprise at lunch.’ I said, ‘Eat Bulaga!’ I wasn’t part of the creative team then, but I’m one of the hosts, so I pitched it during a meeting. As they say, the rest is history,” said Joey.

The theme song was written by Vic. “We came up with this particular song a few months into the show. The first one didn’t suit us,” recalled Tito.”

“I was inside the bathroom, seated on the toilet, when I thought of the melody,” Vic said, laughing. “I already had a list of possible lyrics for the theme song then. The first thing I thought of was how to pronounce the words ‘Eat’ and ‘Bulaga’ in the song exactly how we say it in conversations. That was the trickiest part. It was Joey who changed the lyrics through the years.”

Joey first replaced the lyrics “mula Aparri hanggang Jolo,” to “mula Batanes,” said Vic, “because we didn’t want people there to feel excluded.

“We also replaced ‘Aiza at si Connie’ to ‘Barkada, dumarami.’ Later, to include even the OFWs (overseas Filipino workers), we included: ‘Saang panig ka man ng mundo’ to make it more encompassing,” said Vic.

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Tito then pointed out that the ownership of the song was never in question. “It’s registered, along with our other compositions since 1975, under our publishing company, Star Music,” he declared.

TAGS: Eat Bulaga, TVJ

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