What an experience! Osgoode's team is back from their weekend of competition at the Harold G. Fox Intellectual Property Moot, and boy did we get a 'bargain'!
The Harold G. Fox Moot is intended to promote education in the intellectual property field and to provide students with the opportunity to interact with jurists of the Supreme, Ontario, and Federal Courts 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 scholars and advocates.
This year's moot problem focused on the "patent bargain," and in particular, two hot topics in the world of patent litigation: sufficient disclosure under s.27(3) of the Patent Act and the patentability of diagnostic methods. In the problem’s hypothetical scenario, the Appellant had patented a process for diagnosing early stage chronic kidney disease through the isolation of a particular bacteria in saliva. The Respondent had admittedly infringed the Appellant’s patent; however, they had challenged the validity of that patent on the grounds that the Appellant's document contained insufficient disclosure and that the invention claimed was a mere scientific principle (the correlation between the bacteria and the disease). The Appellant was successful at trial; however, the patent was ultimately invalidated by the fictional Intellectual Property Court of Appeal. The moot was an appeal to the Supreme Court of Intellectual Property, the highest court in the land. This simple premise was greatly complicated by a number of carefully worded situational factors that allowed for compelling arguments to be made on behalf of either party.
Representing Osgoode at the moot were Benjamin Farrow and Isabella Ssozi on behalf of the Respondent, Faye Alipour and Jason Hayward on behalf of the Appellant, and Jeremy Fisher to round out the team as researcher. The team would like to thank our excellent coaches Peter Henein, Steven Kennedy, and Eric Mayzel, all lawyers at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP. Thanks are also due to Professor Giuseppina D’Agostino, Founder & Director of IP Osgoode, who served as the team’s Faculty Advisor. Finally, the team would like to send special thanks to Osgoode's Natia Tucci for her never ending patience and logistical support.
The weekend began on Friday with the Fox IP Lecture, which was delivered by the Honourable Ian Binnie (formerly a Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada). His lecture, which will be published in an upcoming volume of the Intellectual Property Journal, was entitled “Keep your greedy hands off my genes! – The U.S. Supreme Court’s invalidation of gene patents and a victory for some basic principles of patent law”. Delivered during a delicious lunch at the Arcadian Court, the lecture was a thought-provoking look at recent developments in the world of patent law, and in particular, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Myriad Genetics case.
Following the Fox Lecture, the competitors made their way to the Federal Court of Canada for two preliminary rounds of mooting. Each preliminary round had three panelists from both the judiciary and the intellectual property bar. After the first day of competition, we enjoyed a reception – graciously hosted by Dimock Stratton LLP – where we got the chance to socialize with the other schools’ competitors as well as various members of academia, the judiciary and private practice.
Events were back underway early Saturday morning for another two preliminary rounds (each team had the opportunity to compete in three prelimiary rounds). By lunchtime, the semi-finalists were announced, and the four teams selected had the opportunity to compete in front of panels comprised of respected judges from both the Federal Court and Ontario Court of Appeal. Following the semi-finals, only two teams were left: Jordan Neal and Evan Kopiak of Western University for the Appellants, and Nathan Piche and Laurel Hogg of the University of Ottawa for the Respondents. These four finalists faced off in front of a truly awe inspiring bench. The final panel consisted of IP Osgoode Advisory Board Members Justice Marshall Rothstein (Supreme Court of Canada) and Justice Roger T. Hughes (Federal Court of Canada), as well as Justice David Stratas (Federal Court of Appeal), Justice Kathryn Feldman (Ontario Court of Appeal), and the Honourable Ian Binnie, Q.C. The finals were extremely entertaining to watch, and everyone agreed that all four oralists performed excellently.
After the finals, competitors made their way to the University Club for the closing ceremonies and awards dinner. After Justice Rothstein delivered a rousing toast, the awards were announced. The Harold G. Fox Cup for the best mooting team went to Nathan Piche and Laurel Hogg (University of Ottawa) with runners up Jordan Neal and Evan Kopiak (Western University). The Donald F. Sim Award for the best oral advocate went to Laurel Hogg (University of Ottawa) with runner up Khalid Karim (University of Windsor). The Gordon F. Henderson Award for the best factum writers went to Appellants Giantommaso Colaneri and Veronica Tsou (University of Ottawa) and Respondents Eric Leinveer and Sean Husband (University of Toronto). The Dimock Stratton LLP award for the best mooter in a non-graduating year went to Laurel Hogg (University of Ottawa). Laurel and a teammate will be invited to represent their school at the 2015 Oxford International IP Moot in England.
All in all, the weekend was a huge success, and an experience that we won't soon forget.
(from left) Benjamin Farrow, Isabella Ssozi, Jeremy Fisher, Faye Alipour and Jason Hayward comprised the 2014 Harold G. Fox Moot team for Osgoode Hall Law School. Photo Credit: Alan Macek
Benjamin Farrow is a JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School and a member of this year’s Harold G. Fox Moot team for Osgoode Hall Law School.