End of Year Summary

The program in Intellectual Property Law led by UBC’s proposed Institute for Intellectual Property Studies (IIPS) has had a highly successful Inaugural Year 2007-08. We look forward to an exciting new academic program this Fall, and invite faculty, students, and interested members of the IP community in Vancouver to join us for an exciting series of events.

Last year’s highlights include UBC’s participation in the Oxford International Intellectual Property Moot, generously supported by Vancouver IP law firm Oyen Wiggs. UBC students represented Canada at the moot; they were the only Canadian team invited to participate, and progressed to the quarterfinal round of the competition. The student moot team: Una Radoja and Luke Johnson (Mooters), Matthew Canzer (Critic), Tom Horacek (Researcher).

A new Intellectual Property Seminar Series was inaugurated and hosted by Dr Mira Sundara Rajan, Canada Research Chair in IP Law at UBC. The Series presented a series of well-attended talks by distinguished speakers on a broad range of topics in the area of IP law.

Music Downloads

music-download-picture

The first presentation, entitled “Grokster, Music Downloading, and Secondary Liability,” was given by Professor Dan Laster, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Washington School of Law and former Associate General Counsel for Microsoft. At Microsoft, Professor Laster was responsible for the team that registered the Windows trademark and helped formulate the company’s policies on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty.

The program in Intellectual Property Law led by UBC’s proposed Institute for Intellectual Property Studies (IIPS) has had a highly successful Inaugural Year 2007-08. We look forward to an exciting new academic program this Fall, and invite faculty, students, and interested members of the IP community in Vancouver to join us for an exciting series of events.

Copyright Board of Canada

In the second talk, Mr. Mario Bouchard, General Counsel to the Copyright Board of Canada, took us behind the scenes at the Copyright Board of Canada in a presentation entitled “Copyright Board of Canada: Powers, Practices, and Problems.” Mr. Bouchard was formerly counsel to the federal Department of Justice, research coordinator of the Administrative Law Project of the Law Reform Commission of Canada, and head of legal services at the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Traditional Knowledge

In the third presentation, two speakers addressed the topic of IP and traditional knowledge. Entitled “Bioprospecting and Traditional Medicines: Legal and Quasi-legal Mechanisms for the Protection of Traditional Knowledge,” the presentation explored such issues as the effect of bioprospecting on the ownership of traditional knowledge, the role of university research in appropriating traditional knowledge, legal and quasi-legal mechanisms to protect traditional knowledge, and whether intellectual property law can be applied to protect First Nations’ traditional knowledge. The speakers were Dr. Kelly Bannister, Director of the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance and Adjunct Professor in the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria; and Mr. Thomas W. Bailey, a partner in the IP boutique firm Oyen Wiggs Green & Mutala LLP and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of British Columbia.

IP and Wine

ip-and-wine-picture

The year concluded with a special event on Geographical Indications, a relatively new area of IP law dealing with fine products combining craftsmanship and environmental factors, such as wines and spirits, foods, and textiles. The presentation, entitled “Wine: A New Flavour of Intellectual Property,” featured a presentation on geographical indications in wine by Hungarian expert, Dr. Agnes Kokai-Kuun, followed by a wine-tasting of wines from Hungary presented to the Law School by Dr Kokai-Kuun. Dr. Kokai-Kunn is the former Head of Secretariat of the Hungarian Council for the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights at the Hungarian Patent Office.

IP Careers

The IP Program also hosted a panel discussion on careers in intellectual property law, organized by law student Vincent Yip, providing information on such topics as the daily practice of IP law and the process of becoming a patent or trade-mark agent. The speakers were Aiyaz Alibhai, Managing Partner and Chair of Litigation Department of the Vancouver office of MBM Intellectual Property Law; Brian Lee, a partner in the Patent Prosecution and Technology Group at Gowling Lafleur Henderson; Andris Macins, an associate with the Biotechnology/Pharmaceutical Patent Prosecution group at Smart & Biggar; and David Takagawa, an associate with both the patent and trade-mark Prosecution Practice at Oyen Wiggs Green & Mutala.

Oxford IP Moot – UBC in 2nd Place, 2008

Teams from law schools across the world converged on Worcester College at Oxford University this weekend for the 6th annual International Intellectual Property Moot. Our team fought fiercely through five rounds of mooting, each time switching between the claimant, a well-known Champagne producer, and the defendant, a newbie winemaker. At issue was whether there could be copyright in a blend of wine, whether there had been trademark infringement, and whether there had been passing off.

After each round, there was slightly less fingernail left to bite, as each of our opponents were extremely well prepared, highly knowledgeable in IP issues, and eloquent public speakers. We succeeded in reaching the final round, but were narrowly defeated by the National University of Singapore. The final round was before Lord Justice Mummery, Lord Justice Jacob, and Mr. Justice Floyd, and in a room packed with 150 other students, judges, leading academics and practitioners. Following the final round, we were invited to sit at the High Table for the awards dinner, joining the other finalists, judges, and the moot’s organizer, Mr. David Vaver.

Aside from the pride I feel because I was able to refrain from throwing up out of nervousness, I would like to take this opportunity to share some of the benefits this type of moot has offered me, and which may be of interest to students for next year’s competition.

First, this is an amazing opportunity to become fluent with an increasingly important area of the law. Intellectual Property is at the forefront of every sector, from the small business owner’s interest in preserving her goodwill and ideas, to international concerns over pharmaceutical patents. Information and ideas are less and less analogous to real property, and I think that our generation will be responsible for forging a system that can properly operate in an interconnected world.

Second, this is a cultural exchange unlike any other. The moot includes teams from different jurisdictions and legal philosophies, and they demonstrate a range of oral advocacy styles. Further, the fictional high court is not bound by any precedent, so the focus is on the reasoning behind the judgments and international conventions.

Third, as one of the most important events on the global IP calendar, this is an invaluable networking opportunity. I was invited to visit Hogarth’s Chambers, where Mr. Hicks, a prominent IP barrister, spent the afternoon showing us around the Royal Courts of Justice and introducing us to legal practice in the UK. I had the chance to sit next to Dr. Gillian Davies, who was involved with setting up WIPO, edits “Copinger and Skone James on Copyright”, adjudicates international patent disputes, and has represented a myriad of private and public clients throughout her career. Thanks to facebook magic, we plan to stay in touch with the other mooters as their careers take off in their respective countries.

This has truly been a rewarding experience, and I would encourage anyone interested in IP, International Law, or oral advocacy to consider trying out for the moot next year.

The team is especially grateful to Dr. Mira Sundara-Rajan for her mentorship and guidance, and Professors Blom and Kleefeld for judging our practice rounds. We would also like to thank Oyen Wiggs Green & Mutala LLP, and Mr. Tom Bailey in particular, for their generous sponsorship and help in preparing for the competition

Questions about the moot or the IP program in particular? matthewcanzer@yahoo.com

Matthew Canzer – Mooter
Sarah Ng – Mooter
Kristi Zychowka – Researcher
Ajinkya Tulpule – Critic