Emir Mohammed is an Assistant Professor at the University of Windsor and is an IP Osgoode Research Affiliate.
This February (2009) marks the inaugural launch of the Harold G. Fox Moot, Canada’s Intellectual Property Moot. The Moot had two main sources of inspiration. Last academic year (2007 – 2008) at the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law I helped coach all of Windsor’s competitive Moot teams (Gale, Laskin, Jessup, Wilson and the Corporate/Securities Moot). I soon realized that most competitive Moots in Canada were either grounded in criminal law or constitutional law. Even the Corporate/Securities Moot did not traditionally deal with intellectual property matters. This was the first source of inspiration – there had to be some hidden mass of intellectual property students (and their professors) who would certainly favour a moot on intellectual property issues. The second source of inspiration was David Vaver. No surprise here. The Oxford Intellectual Property Centre holds an annual Intellectual Property Moot, and Professor Vaver was the Director of that Centre from 1998 – 2007. In fact, during the 2008 Moot at Oxford, even the University of British Columbia sent a contingent (lending further credence to the notion that there was a silent need for a domestic, Canadian, Intellectual Property Moot).
The next task was to align myself with ‘like minded’ individuals. This is essential to the success of any endeavour. Credit goes to a select group of individuals – Mohamed Hashim (President of the Student Law Society at the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law), Ron Dimock, Bruce Stratton and Angela Furlanetto (all Partners at Dimock Stratton LLP). Mohamed and I began planning for the Moot in April 2008. I then reached out to Ron Dimock at Dimock Stratton LLP in June 2008 (coincidentally, Ron had taught me IP Remedies at Osgoode during my second LL.M.); Ron replied at the unseemly hour of 1 a.m. to indicate his personal support, and the support of his firm for the Moot. This group of individuals formed the core of the IP Moot Committee. Without them there would be no Moot. A debt of thanks is owed to them. As it currently stands, the other members of the IP Moot Committee are Chief Justice Lutfy, Justice Sexton, Justice Cronk, and Cristina Mihalceanu.
Indeed, the judicial support for the Fox Moot has been tremendous. Thanks in part to the efforts of the judicial members of the IP Moot Committee (Chief Justice Lutfy, Justice Sexton and Justice Cronk), as well as Ron Dimock, we have secured a member of the judiciary for every bench at the Moot, including the Preliminary Rounds. The Semi-Final and Final benches also consist exclusively of members of the judiciary. A full listing can be found here – http://ipmootcanada.ca/panellists/.
The practising bar has also embraced the Moot with little ‘arm twisting’. Aside from Dimock Stratton LLP, there are about a dozen other firms which have sponsored various portions of the Moot (http://ipmootcanada.ca/sponsors/). One of the sponsors (Bereskin & Parr) has even sponsored the hotel accommodations for out of town competitors. Leading practitioners – like Bereskin, Stainsby, Renaud, Morrissey, and notable others – have also agreed to judge Preliminary Rounds of the Moot. A full listing can be found here – http://ipmootcanada.ca/panellists/.
At the end of the day, the Fox Moot is intended to provide a valuable experiential learning experience for law students across Canada. The written component of the Moot gives students a chance to delve into substantive legal issues; while the oral component emphasizes the need to balance knowledge of substantive law with the art (and science) of advocacy. Special thanks is also owed to IP professors throughout Canada. who supported the Moot by encouraging, recruiting, coaching and seeking the necessary approvals for their students to participate in the Moot. The Moot has pulled communities of professors, students, practitioners and judges together in the pursuit of justice and the advancement of the profession. Indeed, it is my selfish intention that the Moot would:
a) bridge the gap between IP students, and the IP bar;
b) bridge the gap between IP students and the judiciary (indeed, sometimes it is useful for students to remember that judges have two eyes and two ears, just like everyone else); and
c) become the premiere competitive Moot in Canada, akin to the Jessup.
If the inaugural Moot is any indication, we have made considerable headway in achieving all of these objectives.