This page was archived by Greg Vetter on 2/8/2012. It remains posted for purposes of historical background about ways in which the Giles Rich Moot Court has been administered in the past at the Law Center.

IPIL / Blakely / IPSO Cooperative Endeavors for IP Moot Courts

From 2007 until 2012, three groups at the Law Center were in a cooperative endeavor for institutionalized participation in the Giles Rich Moot Court (GRMC).  Those groups were:  (1) the IPIL Institute; (2) IPSO, the Law Center's organization for students interested in intellectual property and information law; and (3) the Moot Court team operation of the Blakely Advocacy Institute (“Blakely”).

The GRMC is styled as an intellectual property law moot court, but its subject matter is dominated by patent law.  Thus, there is oftentimes a significant group of students in a given year who can capably compete in a moot court competition, but who are planning to be patent lawyers and thus won’t attempt such an activity unless it is within that subject matter.  Regularly generating and training competitive teams from this group was a goal of this experimental cooperative endeavor.

The structure and rules of the GRMC allow for selection of four students to create two teams.  Working in pairs, they write briefs for both sides of the issue.  Selection of a fifth, alternate participant, does not make sense because the persons who argue the problem must have authored the brief, and only two team members may author the briefs.  If a GRMC participant cannot argue, the other team member argues both sides.  Additionally, a school may enter two teams into a regional competition only under certain conditions relating to the structure of the regional competition.  There is typically a regional competition in Houston, and traditionally entering a second team has not been a problem in the Houston region.  Finally, a school may be represented in only one region.

The general schedule each year for the GRMC competition is:  (i) the problem posts in October; (ii) briefs are due the first Monday in February; and (ii) regional competitions for the oral argument phase are the second weekend of Spring break in mid‑March.

The GRMC cooperative endeavor placed IPSO and Blakely in the central positions for the life‑cycle of a GRMC competition.  IPIL’s role was secondary, supportive, and facilitative to help ensure that the process operated each year. IPSO and Blakely advertised and ran tryouts near the end of each spring semester, with a focus on participation by 1Ls. IPIL participated in revising the tryout form/contract as necessary each year. IPIL also funded some minor, incidental expenses related to submitting the briefs to the Houston GRMC regional (the "regional" is the initial competition).

Under this approach, the cooperative endeavor operated tryouts in the Spring of 2008 and 2009 for the GRMC exclusively. Persons selected became Blakely moot court team members for the following year, meaning that the attestations in the tryout form include that involvement and include a number of derivative items/courses in preparation for the GRMC competition.

In the Fall of 2009, independent of the three-way cooperative endeavor for GRMC, IPIL and Blakely arranged a multi-year program to renew Law Center participation in the Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court (SLMC). To the best of our knowledge, no team from the Law Center had competed in the SLMC since the mid-1990s. The SLMC initial competition is held outside Texas, and thus sending teams to the competition requires institutional support of the type Blakely provides for its many other competitions where it sends teams to remote locations to compete. Like any business trip of several days involving several persons, with travel by air, attending a single competition can cost many thousands of dollars. The initial SLMC team was selected via normal Blakely processes, and it competed in the Spring of 2010.

In the Spring of 2010, the tryout process was adjusted to experiment with a collective try-out whereby both the GRMC participants and the SLMC tryouts occurred together. Upon assessment of this in the Spring of 2011, it was deemed not beneficial. Thus, the Spring 2011 tryouts once again focused exclusively on the GRMC.

The assessment of IPIL and Blakely is that the SLMC competition does not need the special apparatus the cooperative endeavor put in place for the GRMC. The SLMC competition is just like any other Blakely competition team, except that IPIL has facilitated Blakely's participation in it for a multi-year experiment to determine whether the SLMC is a competition that Blakely wants to keep long-term as a regular competition.

In the Spring of 2012, further assessment led to the conclusion of the three-way cooperative endeavor. Blakely was confident in its desire to enter both the SLMC and GRMC competition from its general moot court group. Thus, a separate tryout process for GRMC was deemed no longer necessary. The separate tryout was never as successful as IPIL and Blakely hoped in terms of turning out more students to attempt GRMC. With GRMC becoming a regular Blakely competition, IPIL and IPSO will support GRMC primarily by promoting to the IP students the benefits of joining the Blakely moot court team.

The tryout form, last used for the separate tryout in Spring of 2011, is left below for historical significance.

• Tryout form for Spring 2011 tryouts for the Spring 2012 GRMC competition

Last modified on February 8, 2012, by Greg R. Vetter