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TVJ Initiates Legal Action Against TAPE and GMA Network for Copyright Infringement

In a recent development, the iconic trio of Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon, famously known as TVJ, has taken legal action against Television and Production Exponents (TAPE) Inc., the producer of "Eat Bulaga," and media giant GMA Network. The complaint alleges copyright infringement and unfair competition, stemming from the unauthorized airing and replaying of "Eat Bulaga" episodes without the consent of TVJ. 

TVJ lodged their complaint against TAPE and GMA on June 30, following instances where the production company and the network aired "Eat Bulaga" episodes without the trio's authorization. On July 12, TAPE and GMA were served summons by the Marikina Court, mandating them to respond to the complaint within 30 days. This legal action was prompted by an incident on May 31, when TVJ and the other co-hosts of "Eat Bulaga" were denied the opportunity to go live on air by TAPE. Instead, past episodes were broadcasted, prompting TVJ and the co-hosts to resign en masse from TAPE. Subsequently, they inked a deal with MediaQuest Holdings Inc. and premiered their new noontime show, "E.A.T.," on TV5 starting July 1.

Atty. Maggie Garduque, legal counsel for TAPE Inc., countered TVJ's copyright infringement claim by asserting that the complaint lacked merit. She argued that copyright infringement could not be established against TAPE Inc. since they are the registered trademark owner of the "Eat Bulaga" title. Garduque highlighted that the name, logo, and design of "Eat Bulaga" constitute a trademark rather than a copyrightable work. She further emphasized that TAPE Inc. possesses the registered trade name for "Eat Bulaga," thereby making TVJ's infringement claim against the trademark's owner invalid.

TAPE Inc. has presented various documents to substantiate their ownership claims over the "Eat Bulaga" title, contradicting TVJ's assertion that they invented the show's name. Besides the "Eat Bulaga" title, TAPE has also registered other popular segments of the noontime show, including 'Juan for All, All for Juan,' 'Pinoy Henyo,' and 'Bawal Judgmental.' These registered trademarks further complicate the legal battle between TVJ and TAPE, indicating that the dispute could be protracted due to the influence wielded by both parties.

Former senator Tito Sotto expressed his contention that TAPE has no right to commemorate the upcoming 44th anniversary of "Eat Bulaga" on July 29. This statement indicates the deep-rooted frustration and animosity between TVJ and their former production company.

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