No Laughing Matter


Just for fun, I searched “funny trade secret litigation”. Who knew that comedy clubs were (allegedly) chock full of trade secrets!

Malaysian comedian Harith Iskander won the “Funniest person in the world” contest sponsored by the Laugh Factory Comedy Club in California.

Mr. Iskander was to make ten performance trips to the US, and get paid $10,000 per trip as part of the prize. He only made three trips, and only performed in the first trip. The comedy club demanded a refund of $20,000.

They also discussed expanding Laugh Factory to Asia, but could not agree on terms. Afterwards, Mr. Iskander opened his own “Joke Factory” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

open mic

Litigation flared with both parties throwing claims and counterclaims, including a counterclaim against Mr. Iskander for violating the federal DTSA and the California UTSA relating to business information shared by the comedy club regarding their business operations.

The court rejected the trade secret claims, saying the information was general business practices and not trade secrets. Furthermore, the comedy club did not have Mr. Iskander sign an NDA, did not have its own employees sign an NDA or any confidentiality provisions, and did not keep confidential documents in a secure location. Essentially, the comedy club did not take reasonable efforts to protect its information.