What do cows, kangaroos, and frozen yogurt have in common?
Leave it to Osgoode’s Harold G. Fox Intellectual Property Moot team to tell you the answer!
On February 20 and 21, 2015, the 7th Annual Harold G. Fox Moot carried on the tradition of promoting education in the intellectual property field and providing students with the opportunity to interact with jurists and experienced practitioners of intellectual property law. The moot is named in honour of the late Harold G. Fox, one of Canada’s leading intellectual property law scholars and advocates.
This year’s moot problem was about trademark confusion and the use of a pre-trial remedy called an Anton Piller order. In the problem’s hypothetical scenario, the Appellant, a multinational corporation called “Kangaroo, Inc.” alleged that the Respondent, “Janet Dough,” had violated its trademark rights by creating a t-shirt with the slogan “Just Moo It,” which (in Kangaroo’s view) was confusingly similar to its world-famous trademark “Just Roo It.” Although funny and deceptively simple at first sight, the problem involved several live IP issues, such as the use of parody as a defence to trademark infringement and trademark bullying, and provided enough twists to be challenging for both sides.
Six law schools participated in the moot this year: Osgoode Hall Law School, The University of Toronto, The University of Manitoba, Queens University, The University of Ottawa, and Western University. The Osgoode team was comprised of Maryam Khalid and Zorn Pink as Appellants, Brendan Monahan and Alexandra Grishanova as Respondents, and Anastassia Trifonova as Researcher.
The moot kicked off with a keynote address by the Right Honourable Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. Lord Neuberger’s remarks set the stage for the moot by focusing on the topic of trademark dilution specifically in the context of parody. Following Lord Neuberger’s speech, the teams made their way to the Federal Court for the preliminary mooting rounds. All judging panels in the preliminary rounds included one member of the judiciary and two IP practitioners.
At the conclusion of the preliminary rounds, Osgoode Respondents Alexandra Grishanova and Brendan Monahan advanced to the semi-final for a heated match against the University of Toronto. Both teams faced a formidable judging panel comprised of Justice Johanne Gauthier of the Federal Court of Appeal, Justice Robert Sharpe of the Ontario Court of Appeal, and the recently-retired Justice Stephen Goudge of the Ontario Court of Appeal. The bench was anything but cold! Both teams faced an abundance of questions before they even finished their introductions.
After what Justice Goudge called an extraordinarily difficult decision, only the teams from the University of Toronto and the University of Ottawa advanced to the finals. They faced a panel comprised of the Rt. Hon. Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury of the UK Supreme Court, Justice Marshall Rothstein of the Supreme Court of Canada, Justice Kathryn Feldman of the Ontario Court of Appeal, Justice David Stratas of the Federal Court of Appeal, and Justice Roger Hughes of the Federal Court. The questions put to the finalists by the bench were challenging and profound. The high quality of answers given by both teams showed the tremendous amount of preparation that went into this competition.
After a dinner and reception at the University Club, the winners of the Moot were announced. University of Ottawa’s Frederick Wu and Laura MacDonald took home the Harold G. Fox Cup for the best mooting team. Frederick Wu was also awarded the Donald F. Sim award for the best oral advocate and the Dimock Stratton LLP award for the best mooter in a non-graduating year. His colleague Laura MacDonald received the second place oralist award. The University of Toronto’s Rachel Charney and Brett Hughes were awarded the second place prize and the best appellant factum award. Osgoode’s Brendan Monahan and Alexandra Grishanova took home the Gordon F. Henderson Award for the best respondent factum.
Overall, the moot was an amazing experience. The whole team had a lot of fun preparing for it and has not only learned a lot, but also became good friends in the process. A debt of gratitude is owed to our tireless researcher, Anastassia Trifonova, and our coaches from Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP: Steven Kennedy, Eric Mayzel and Peter Henein, without whom our success would not have been possible. Special thanks also goes out to Professor D’Agostino, Professor Craig, and IP Osgoode for their support.
(From left: Brendan Monahan, Anastassia Trifonova, Alexandra Grishanova, Maryam Khalid, Paul Zorn Pink)