Power Troika TVJ (Photo courtesy of FreebieMNL)

GMA Network and the producer of the noontime show “Eat Bulaga,” Television and Production Exponents Inc. (TAPE), have been summoned by the Marikina Regional Trial Court in response to a copyright infringement and unfair competition complaint filed by plaintiffs Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, Joey de Leon, and former TAPE executive vice-president for production Jeny Ferre.

The complaint, filed on June 30, 2023, before Marikina RTC Branch 273, alleges copyright infringement and unfair competition under Republic Act 8293, also known as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines. The summons, however, was only made public on July 12 when the defendants officially received it.

In a report aired on GMA’s “24 Oras,” TAPE’s legal counsel, Maggie Garduque, stated, “It is not a copyright infringement. The name ‘Eat Bulaga,’ its design, and logo are trademarks and not subject to copyright.”

“The tradename Eat Bulaga is registered under TAPE Inc., so they cannot file an infringement against the registered owner of the trademark. Their petition to cancel the Eat Bulaga trademark is still pending before the Intellectual Property Office, and until that petition is granted, the trademark Eat Bulaga and EB will be owned by TAPE Inc.,” added Garduque.

GMA Network, which airs “Eat Bulaga” as a block timer, released a statement saying, “We will refer the complaint to our legal counsel, Belo Gozon Elma Parel Asuncion and Lucila Law Offices.”

Following alleged issues with TAPE, the hosts of TVJ and “Legit Dabarkads” left the show on May 31. TAPE aired previous episodes of the show before returning with new hosts, led by Paolo Contis and former Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno.

Meanwhile, TVJ and Legit Dabarkads found a new home on TV5 and began airing their new show, “E.A.T,” on July 1. (ai/mnm)