A DAY after the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) canceled the trademark registration of Television and Production Exponents (TAPE), Inc., former Senate President Tito Sotto, his brother Vic, and Joey de Leon, all felt vindication, and said they felt they got the respect and official recognition as rightful owners of the name “Eat Bulaga” and the “EB” mark.
In a press conference held at the TV5 studios in Mandaluyong City, Atty. Enrique “Buko” dela Cruz, legal counsel of the three, said Tito, Vic, and Joey could have used the name “Eat Bulaga” since the trademark registration of TAPE only covers the use of “Eat Bulaga” for merchandise and other products but not for entertainment. “Our advice was for them to use the name ‘Eat Bulaga’ since they are the name’s creator, but they decided against it out of respect, even though it was painful for them that they are the creators of the show, and yet somebody else is using their creation.”
Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon echoed Atty. Dela Cruz’s statement, but now that the IPOPHL cancelled TAPE’s trademark registration and declared Tito, Vic and Joey as rightful creators of the trademark, he said “if they show respect and if they stop using something that is not theirs, everyone will be truly happy and it will be a truly Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for all.”
When asked about TAPE appealing the decision of IPOPHL, Tito Sotto said the appeal will follow naturally since that’s part of the process, “but I know that we are standing in the right side of the fence.”
For his part, Atty. Dela Cruz, when asked if Tito, Vic and Joey can now use “Eat Bulaga,” he said TAPE has the right to appeal the decision, and there is a process. “But now that the IPOPHL has already issued a decision, the question now is will TAPE respect the decision of the IPOPHL?”
In a statement, the IPOPHL said the “decisions of the Adjudication Officer may be appealed to the Bureau of Legal Affairs Director within 15 days from receipt of the decision. In turn, the appellate decisions of the BLA Director may be appealed to the IPOPHL Director General within 30 days from receipt of the copy of the BLA Director’s decisions.
“If they are still not satisfied with the decision, they can file an appeal at the Court of Appeals, or even the Supreme Court,” Atty. Dela Cruz said.
“Now that the government declared that Tito, Vic and Joey are the rightful owners and creators of Eat Bulaga, the other side is going to file an appeal, but they should respect the decision of the IPO and not use Eat Bulaga anymore now that their trademark registration is cancelled,” he added.
As for the copyright infringement and unfair competition case filed against TAPE, Atty. Dela Cruz said it is still pending in the Marikina Regional Trial Court. “There is no decision yet on that, but we expect a decision to come out soon.”