Finalists squared off on March 17, 2012 in the final round of the Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition, held at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. Tackling the complex intersection of trademarks and the First Amendment, the University of New Hampshire (team pictured with Lefkowitz Committee members) captured the Best Team Award in a field of tough competitors from law schools around the country.
INTA’s annual moot court competition this year had 80 teams arguing the fictional case of American Forefathers Foundation (AFF) v. All-American Founders Advocates (AAFA)
. American Forefathers Foundation, which used the slogan Vote American!, screamed trademark infringement when another political advocacy group with a diametrically opposing political platform adopted the name All-American Founders Advocates (AAFA) and slogan Vote All-American! The District Court of Utopia found a likelihood of confusion but refused to grant an injunction, which it said would be an unconstitutional restriction of AAFA’s right to free expression under the First Amendment. The parties appealed to the Twelfth Circuit.
Teams from the following schools advanced to the National Finals:
- University of New Hampshire School of Law (first place in East Regional; Jeffrey Larson, Nicholas Scala, Anjie Vichayanonda)
- University of Virginia School of Law (second place in East Regional; Galen Bascom, Anne Lippitt)
- University of Iowa College of Law (first place in Midwest Regional; Alexandria Christian, Van Everett, Amy Hein, Brian Kearns)
- University of Illinois College of Law (second place in Midwest Regional; Angela Hsieh, David Dremann, Xiaoguang Gao)
- North Carolina Central School of Law (first place in South Regional; Elise Bouchard, Brice Bratcher, Kyle Brazile)
- • Emory University School of Law (second place in South Regional; Hana Anderson, Sriram Rajan, Brad Strickland)
- Santa Clara University School of Law (first place in West Regional; Christopher Creech, Jacob Vigil)
- University of California Davis School of Law (second place in West Regional; Ian Hlatky, Nima Rahimi, Jared Wigginton, Nathan Zhang)
The National Finals Winners were:
- Winning Team: University of New Hampshire School of Law
- Second Place Team: Emory University School of Law
- Third Place Team: University of Iowa College of Law
- Dolores K. Hanna Best Brief: University of New Hampshire School of Law
- Second Place Brief: North Carolina Central School of Law
- Best Oral Argument: University of New Hampshire School of Law
- Second Place Oral Argument Team: Emory University School of Law
Debbie Squiers (Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, P.C.), who chaired the Lefkowitz Committee this past year, commended the students during the awards ceremony for their hard work and mastery of the complex legal issues raised by the moot court problem. “You are the stars of today’s event,” she said. Ms. Squiers thanked the judges and lawyers of the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board for volunteering their time to judge the finals. “You raise the bar for this competition by giving up your precious weekend day to lend support and constructive advice to these future trademark experts.” She further recognized each of the firms and organizations that sponsored the four regional competitions held in Atlanta, New York, Chicago and San Francisco in February as well as Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, and its partner Chris Foley, for organizing and running the National Finals.
Katy Basile (Novak Druce + Quigg LLP) will chair the Committee for the 2012-13 year, with Jeff Kobulnick (Ezra Brutzkus Gubner LLP), as vice chair. “Debbie set the standard very high this past year, overseeing a perfect competition with a problem that was complex, timely in our election year, and fun,” said Ms. Basile. “For the first time, eight law schools competed in the finals in Washington D.C., making the final competition even more exciting. We are well underway with planning for the 2012–2013 competition and look forward to next year’s event.”
The competition was established to introduce law students to the challenging and varied issues involved in trademark and unfair competition law. The event is named in honor of the late Saul Lefkowitz whose entire distinguished career was dedicated to the development of trademark and unfair competition law. For more than 30 years, Mr. Lefkowitz was a member of the trademark examining corps in the U.S. Trademark Office and was a member of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board from its creation in 1958. In 1975, he was named its chairman. He is most particularly and fondly remembered as a mentor to young practitioners, helping them develop an understanding of trademark law and procedures.
Many students involved in the competition go on to careers with INTA-member organizations, as well as leadership positions in the Association. Firms involved with the Lefkowitz Competition and many other INTA members have hired new associates based partly on their performance in the competition.
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© 2012 International Trademark Association