Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon, collectively known as TVJ, have embarked on a legal battle to reclaim their brainchild, “Eat Bulaga,” by filing a copyright infringement lawsuit against TAPE, which is under the ownership of former Congressman Romy Jalosjos, and GMA Network, headed by bilyonaryo Felipe Gozon.
The renowned trio, along with their creative partner, former TAPE Senior Vice President for Creatives and Operations Jeny Ferre, have lodged a complaint with the Marikina Regional Trial Court. Their aim is to prohibit Jalosjos’ production company and Gozon’s television station from broadcasting reruns of “Eat Bulaga” and utilizing its derivative elements, including the jingle, logo design, and segments that they originally conceived.
TVJ has moved their talents to the noontime slot of TV5 of bilyonaryo Manny V. Pangilinan and have adopted a a temporary name for their show, now known as “E.A.T.”, as they strive to reclaim their creation.
TVJ and Ferre have sought immediate injunctive relief against TAPE and GMA, citing the continuous violation of their rights and the consequential damage inflicted each time old episodes of “Eat Bulaga” are aired or new shows with different hosts are broadcasted under the same title.
“TAPE has misled and is continuously misleading the public into believing that what is airing is the same show that we have created and passionately maintained for 44 years,” the complainant said.
To illustrate the extent of the confusion arising from TAPE’s unauthorized utilization of “Eat Bulaga,” the plaintiffs highlighted a particular incident in which a contestant, an e-trike driver, expressed profound gratitude towards TVJ for the cash prize awarded by the replacement hosts of the GMA program.
Marikina RTC Branch 273 Judge Romeo Dizon Tagra has given TAPE and GMA 30 days to answer TVJ and Ferre’s complaint for copyright infringement and unfair competition.
TVJ and Ferre are represented by Divinalaw, led by Dean Nilo Divina and lawyer Enrique “Buko” dela Cruz.
The departure of TVJ, Ferre, and other co-hosts and creative staff from TAPE on May 31, due to “internal conflict” and their refusal to work with Jalosjos’ children, who have assumed management of the show, precipitated this legal dispute. Tony Tuviera, TVJ’s long-time collaborator and owner of a 25 percent stake in TAPE, has been replaced by Jalosjos offsprings.
TVJ and Ferre accused TAPE and GMA of replaying recordings of Eat Bulaga’s previous episodes and segments from June 1 to 3, making it appear as if they were still a part of the show.
TAPE later continued to air live episodes of the show with replacement hosts but using the title “Eat Bulaga” without the consent of TVJ and Ferre.
TVJ and Ferre asserted their ownership of Eat Bulaga and its segments as their “intellectual property creation” – Eat Bulaga was coined in Tito Sotto’s kitchen by Joey de Leon , who also contributed to the design of the show’s logo.
The complainants have already asked the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) to cancel TAPE’s trademark registration for Eat Bulaga and its segments. IPOPHL was ordered on June 6 to answer TVJ’s petition.
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