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The Laugh Factory files $10 million countersuit against 'funniest person in the world'

By Takesha Thomas | Mar 19, 2019

LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) – The Laugh Factory has filed a $10 million breach of contract countersuit against a man who claims he is due money for competing in the World's Funniest Person competition.

The Laugh Factory filed the counterclaim on Feb. 27 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The seven-count claim states that Harith Iskander committed willful trademark infringement, common law trademark infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, misappropriation of trade secrets under California Civil Code, breach of written contract, unfair competition pursuant to California code and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage.

According to the filing, Iskander, a resident of Malaysia, contacted the Laugh Factory in September 2016 about the possibility of bringing the brand to Asia. Representatives from the Laugh Factory agreed to discuss the possibility and ultimately settled on a 50/50 partnership agreement with the intention to expand the brand in Asia. The agreement was never finalized, the filing states.

However, the Laugh Factory claims that instead Iskander "never intended to honor this agreement; rather, it was a deceit designed to gain access to and then misappropriate defendants’ protected, proprietary intellectual property, including trade secrets, trademarks, business operations, and other intellectual property," the filing states.

The countersuit states Iskander intentionally misappropriated all of the Laugh Factory's’ intellectual property and trade secrets.

According to filing, Iskander opened a business in Malaysia that was substantially similar to the Laugh Factory. Albright contends that Iskander used the Laugh Factory's "proprietary trade secrets" and other intellectual property to do so. 

Iskander is also alleged to have breached a 2016 contract involving the Funniest Person in the World contest. 

As part of that competition, The Laugh Factory contends that Iskander was scheduled to make U.S. trips to perform and would be awarded $100,000 to be paid in 10 installments and specifically conditioned on those 10 appearances. Iskander is alleged to have failed to fulfill his obligation to make 10 visits to the United States to perform.

Iskander filed suit in December 2018 alleging promissory fraud, intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, declaratory relief, misleading advertising and unfair competition over the contest.

The Laugh Factory and its founder, Jamie Masada, are represented by Clifton W. Albright, David Martin and David Song of Albright, Yee and Schmit in Los Angeles, California.

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