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DePaul students invited to University of Oxford for international IP moot

Sarah Wilson (JD '14) and Kyle Brennan (JD '14)
Third-year law students Sarah Wilson and Kyle Brennan will head to Oxford, England, next week to compete in the 12th Annual International Intellectual Property Law Moot, hosted by the Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre at the University of Oxford. The teammates were invited to participate in the oral rounds of the 2014 Oxford Moot on March 20-22, on the basis of their two written submissions.

“Wilson and Brennan advanced to the oral rounds in a year where the competition organizers fielded increased interest in the competition, and received very strong written submissions,” said Lubna El-Gendi, associate director of the Center for Art, Museum & Cultural Heritage Law. “Last year, only 20 teams were invited to compete in the oral rounds, and only two of those teams were from the U.S.”

The focus of the 2014 moot is copyright and moral rights. Competitors will address the meaning of “original” works with respect to copyright protection, fair dealing, moral rights, and whether parties can contract out of protections built into copyright laws. The oral rounds will comprise four preliminary rounds, followed by quarter-finals, semi-finals and a grand final. The moot hypothetical is available on the competition website.

“We each expressed our desire to participate and were fortunate to be chosen to represent DePaul,” said Wilson. They credit El-Gendi and center director Professor Patty Gerstenblith with spearheading the effort to garner interest in the competition and encouraging the team. Wilson and Brennan, who share an interest in art law and interned together at Customs and Border Protection, pooled their knowledge for three months during the brief-writing process. “We frequently met to discuss the most advantageous arguments for each position,” recalled Wilson. “The international character of the problem posed challenges in learning how each country implements statutes and addresses the particular issues. Fortunately, Kyle studied in Dublin during the spring semester last year, which proved to be quite useful in acquiring an understanding of international legal systems."

"Participating in the competition gave us a useful way to learn more about the laws of nations throughout the world and view the issues from a global perspective,” added Wilson.

In mid-January, they were selected for the oral rounds. They have received extensive support from faculty members at the Center for Intellectual Property Law & Information Technology (CIPLIT®), who served as guest judges during their oral argument practice sessions, which they conduct three or four times a week. Christopher Evers, formerly at DePaul, and Aaron Rosenthal, a 2012 DePaul art and museum law alumnus, also provided "invaluable" advice and feedback, the moot competitors said.

While both teammates have previously traveled in Europe, they have yet to explore Oxford or other small English towns outside of London. As competition occurs the weekend before spring break, Wilson said they plan to stay in England a few days after the competition to explore the British landscape.

“The DePaul community has offered unparalleled support and we are quite grateful,” said Brennan and Wilson. "We would not be able to attend the competition without the financial support of the Center for Art, Museum & and Cultural Heritage Law, and extend a special thanks to Professor Gerstenblith and Ms. El-Gendi for making this wonderful experience possible."