Canada’s Intellectual Property Moot: The Harold G. Fox Moot

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 –

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 ( 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 –

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.

  1. As a past student of David’s I am pleased to heard about the IP moot. Is there anything I might be able to do to help in the future? While not strictly an IP lawyer, I am an experienced IT lawyer, so IP is a large portion of what I do, and the down and dirty experience of someone who has negotiated large outsourcing agreements for a vendor may be of interest

    PS Aside from the fact that I am happy that David is returning to Osgoode, I note my old friend Don Cameron is a sponsor.

  2. Hopefully the weather in Toronto will give us a warm welcome on the weekend of the Harold G. Fox Moot. Having checked the weather as of today (February 16th), it looks like the day of the finals may be lucky.

    After having been involved in the preparation of this event as a member of the IP Moot Committee and an Executive Member of WIPIT (Windsor Intellectual Property and Information Technology) at the University of Windsor, I have come to appreciate some of the hard work that is required. I anticipate that the efforts of all those involved will be revealed as we will look around the Federal Court House which will be filled with scores of the leading judges, IP lawyers, keen moot participants and their professors, and other IP aficionados. Most exciting of all is that this is the first moot of its kind in Canada. The moot participants will likely walk through the doors nervous about the adventure they are about to embark upon – for some, this being a first visit to the Federal Court House; for others, this being the first time they will be in the presence of members of the judiciary and the IP bar. As Prof. Mohammed points out, students will realize that judges indeed have “two eyes and two ears, just like everyone else”. I have no doubt that Prof. Mohammed’s objectives will be reached. In my opinion, the Harold G. Fox Moot will be the highlight of the year, something that no students should miss, especially if interested in this field. This is my student perspective.

  3. As a participant in the Harold Fox Moot, I just want to say thanks to Prof. Mohammed, Dimock Stratton, Cristina & her team, and all the other individuals and sponsors who came together to produce such an amazing event. That the event proceeded so smoothly is a reflection of the effort everyone put in, and it made for an incredible two days. Thanks again!

  4. Aside from being an all around excellent Moot, one of the things that made the Moot so special was the commemoration of Harold G. Fox. Harold G. Fox was a leader in intellectual property and is respected by all in the field. The chance to honour his name with this competitive moot was therefore very special.

    Justice Hughes told heart-warming anecdotes about Harold Fox at the opening lunch of the Moot on Friday afternoon. In his address, Justice Hughes indicated that one of Harold Fox’s famous quotes was “lets be upstanding!” Justice Hughes then explained that one of the moot competitors should be nominated as Mr. or Ms. Congeniality. Mr. Congeniality would then propose a toast, declaring “Lets be upstanding!” at the final awards dinner. On Saturday evening at the University Club, Mr. Congeniality made the toast and the entire room stood up and raised a glass to the late Harold G. Fox, honouring his name and his work. For me, this was one of the most notable moments of my law school career thus far. It was very exciting to be in attendance at the first ever national intellectual property moot, and I hope to be attendance every year that follows.

  5. The outstanding reception from the bar, judiciary and academia? The top notch organization and execution? Or the overall grandeur of the 2-day event?

    There are many reasons one could supply to justify the Harold Fox Moot being classified as an instant success. For me, it is simply knowing that an idea that was conceived over a year ago finally came together in an inaugural triumph.

    Congrats to all the participants for being a part of history!

  6. just to echo some of the comments – the moot was fantastic! I was really impressed by every single part of it!

  7. As a Moot participant, I must also agree with Anna. The Moot was a success. It’s organization and professionalism surpassed my hopes.

    Very thankful I was given the opportunity to take part.

  8. I just want to thank everyone who made this moot possible. It showed that a lot of thinking and caring went into this event, and I was very pleased throughout the event.

    Personally, it was a blessing for me to be on the moot team and to have such a unique experience that I will never forget.

    Ever since I came to the University of Ottawa, I always wanted to represent the school somehow, and this event made my hopes come true.

    I was quite speechless throughout the event, but gathering my thoughts and words, I simply want to say “thank you”.

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