As readers know, we hosted the 2nd Biennial Strathmore Intellectual Property (IP) Moot Competition 2016 which took place between 8th and 9th July 2016 at Strathmore University. Unlike the inaugural Strathmore IP Moot that was only open to Law Schools in Kenya, this year’s IP Moot had participating teams drawn from several universities in East Africa including Africa Nazarene University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kabarak University, Kampala International University, Kenyatta University, Kisii University, Moi University, Riara University, Strathmore University, Uganda Christian University, University of Nairobi and University of Dar es Salaam.
This blogger took part in the moot and live-tweeted the highlights including photos using the #StrathIPMoot hashtag. This blogpost is a brief summary of my general observations of the moot. All the pictures are available on our facebook album here.
This year’s moot problem (available here) had two separate questions. The first question addresses various issues in patent and trade mark law including employee ownership of a patented invention, domain name rights and unregistered trade marks. The second question had several complex issues relating to jurisdiction in industrial property and trade mark disputes, compulsory licensing of patent rights and cross-border trade mark infringement.
Among those who were involved in the inaugural moot, there was a general consensus that this year’s mooters were well prepared and presented at a high level with a clear understanding of most IP issues in the moot problem. That said, the judges noted that the memorials submitted prior to the oral rounds could have been better. A number of memorials were not well formatted with several key sections not included. Most memorials did not concisely and comprehensively address all the issues raised in the moot problem with reference to authoritative sources of law and other persuasive sources.
During the oral rounds, the highest proportion of marks up for grabs were for knowledge of the law, application of law to facts and ingenuity and ability to answer questions. Some of the questions the judges considered while awarding marks to mooters included: Have the correct legal principles been identfied? Does the mooter display a command of the relevant areas of law? How deep has their research been? Have the facts been adequately addressed in the oral submissions? Have they been used to bolster the argument? Did the mooter answer questions adequately or evade them? Did the questions unduly ruffle the mooter or did they meet them with confidence?
Aside from the technical aspects of the IP moot, the judges were also keen on the style, courtesy and demeanour of the mooters when presenting their oral arguments and during rebuttal. Finally, most mooters struggled with time management and organisation with most submissions running over allocated time.
In the end, Uganda Christian University (Team 16) won the moot in a thrilling final round against the host, Strathmore University (Team 14). The winning team from Uganda Christian University also scooped the Best Memorials Prize and Best Oralist Prize (awarded to Joseph Okia). The award for Most Promising Individual went to David Lesinko from University of Nairobi School of Law.
As the only active IP law moot competition in Kenya and across Africa, we are proud of the team at CIPIT for successfully organising this unique event. Special thanks go to our sponsors, the participating teams, the lawyers who volunteered as judges and of course, all those who attended the moot.