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