The 17th annual Oxford International Intellectual Property Moot competition was held at the Law Faculty and Pembroke College from 14-16 March 2019. 28 teams from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom and the United States, competed across two and a half days of intense mooting. After at least four rounds for each team, many closely fought, City, University of London and two-time winners, University of Ottawa, progressed to the Grand Final on Saturday afternoon. The two finalists mooted before Lord Kitchin, recently promoted to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, Lord Justice Floyd and Mr Justice Carr. City, University of London, was eventually named the Allen & Overy winner of the moot. City, University of London also won the 8 New Square Best Written Submission.
The problem for the 2019 Moot related to trade mark law in the (now familiar) fictional jurisdiction of Erewhon, and introduced a new fictitious neighbouring country: Shangri-La. The hypothetical fact scenario revolved around the registration, in Erewhon, of a mark that contains Shangri-Lese characters alongside an English word. Read cumulatively, the mark amounted to ‘SELF SPEED’. There was an allegation of trade mark infringement in relation to that mark, since the defendant used an identical sign but for skateboards. The prior mark was challenged on the basis that it was (at least partially) descriptive in Shangri-lese, a foreign language. It was also challenged on the basis of being only commercially used for a narrow subset (racing bicycles) of the goods for which it was officially registered (land vehicles propelled wholly by the rider). The issues debated were whether (i) the prior mark should be cancelled based on its descriptiveness (in a foreign language); or (ii) due to its limited usage on a narrow sub-category of the products applied for.
Marking of the submissions was conducted by a team of practitioners and research students overseen by Catriona Smith (Wiggin LLP).
As part of the Allen & Overy winner prize, the winning team will meet members of Allen & Overy’s IP team for a mentoring session.
Other prizes to note: University of Technology Sydney won the Highest Ranked Team after the Preliminary Round. The Best Individual Mooter in the Preliminary Rounds was won by Alexander Leal Smith (University of Technology Sydney). The David Vaver Spirit of the Moot was shared between the home university, University of Oxford and University of Sheffield. A full list of winners is available on this website. The judges were impressed by the high quality of mooting in this year’s rounds, which is a testament to the effort and commitment of the teams and their coaches.
The Organising Committee is very grateful to the following for making the 2019 moot happen: Allen & Overy, 8 New Square, Kirkland & Ellis, Herbert Smith Freehills, Powell Gilbert, Cambridge University Press, Edward Elgar Publishing, Hart Publishing and Oxford University Press. We would also like to thank all our moot judges who volunteered their time to come to Oxford to judge the competition.