Ukraine National/International Intellectual Property Moot Competition 2021-22


KYIV — June 30, 2021. CLDP will work with the Ukraine Bar Association (UBA), the UBA’s Student Division, and other Ukrainian partners to expand the existing IP Moot competition for the 2021-22 school year. 

This effort will be aimed at increasing participation by Ukrainian law students, deepening appreciation for IP law amongst those students, and creating links between the competition and employment or internship opportunities in Ukrainian and/or international firms and companies. 

This program could help to improve IP rights enforcement in Ukraine from the bottom up by introducing fundamental concepts and practical appreciation for IP issues to a larger group of law students who will enter the workforce in legal, business, and government roles in the coming years.

Developing Materials

We will have meetings with Ukrainian and international IP experts to develop a moot problem that meshes IP issues with commercial and contract issues. This will provide a holistic view of what IP issues students might encounter in future commercial/international legal practice. CLDP has identified experts from academia and from the private sector, both inside and outside Ukraine, who are interested in helping with this process. We will coordinate the development of materials with UBA, USPTO, and other relevant stakeholders.

Conducting Trainings and Promoting the Competition

Once the 2021-22 school year begins, CLDP will host several trainings on the fundamentals of IP and international business and contract law for interested students. This will either take place virtually (in this event it could be one or two trainings), in person at multiple universities over the course of 1-2 weeks, COVID permitting, or a hybrid of in-person event with simultaneous live webcast. This would be used to promote the competition and to introduce students to the fundamental IP concepts they might encounter in regular commercial practice. We will aim for mid to late September for these trainings.

Matching Teams with Mentors and Conducting “Office Hours”

We will encourage all interested teams to register by a set date (likely 2-person teams – details TBD) and, after a set date most likely in October 2021, would distribute the problem set to participants. CLDP will work with our existing partners to identify attorneys and other relevant stakeholders who can act as mentors to participating teams. This would require a small time commitment whereby the students could have a brief 30-60min meeting with those mentors once a month at minimum to discuss the problem and general questions about IP and legal practice in Ukraine. The goal of this is to both add value to the quality of arguments during the competition and to create links between students and mentors. We will encourage the volunteering mentors to consider this a recruiting opportunity to identify talented students who could act as interns or, possibly, future employees who would have some practical hands-on experience because of this competition. CLDP attorneys and volunteering experts would also hold regular «office hours» for students to come in with questions about the problem.

Written Submissions

Students will provide written submissions for both sides of the moot argument, with the second submission due several weeks after the first. CLDP will call upon our network of IP and commercial attorneys to review and rank the memoranda to identify the top (likely top 10, depending on number of participating teams) memoranda.

Pre-Competition Conference

The days before the oral argument phase of the competition, CLDP will organize a conference (likely two or two and a half days) on important topics related to the crossroads of IP and commercial law. We have identified experts from the U.S., including academics with backgrounds in IP (including at USPTO), retired and/or acting U.S. judges, and international IP attorneys from Ukraine and Europe, who would add great value to this type of event. We will continue meeting with partners to identify the best panelists and topics for this conference. This conference would be open to participating students, as well as to members of the Ukrainian legal community (CLDP will arrange English-Ukrainian interpretation). Participating speakers will be asked to stay throughout the competition to act as judges during oral argument rounds. CLDP will be able to fund travel of some experts to Ukraine for this portion of the project.

Oral Argument Competition

This portion of the competition can be thought of as the “finals” where participants will argue in a tournament style in front of volunteer judges who we will pull from the legal profession in Ukraine, the U.S., and elsewhere. The format will be developed in accordance with recommendations from USAID, UBA, USPTO, and other relevant stakeholders from Ukraine.

Study Tour

Pending COVID restrictions, CLDP will fund the travel of selected students (likely 6-8) to the U.S. to take part in a post-competition study tour focused on IP law and innovation. The tour will start in Washington, D.C. where students would meet with government, academic, and private-sector stakeholders to learn about what IP rights and policy look like in the U.S. This could include stops at USPTO, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and/or the Court of Federal Claims, George Washington University Law School’s IP department, IP law firms, etc. Participants would then travel to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where they would meet with representatives from academia and from leading tech sector representatives.  

This would encourage these students to continue in their pursuit of a career in international commercial law, with an understanding for why enforcement of IPR is critical for Ukraine’s economic development, particularly in the innovative industries.

Draft Timeline of Events

June, July, August 2021

— Begin to develop program materials, including the moot problem and the competition rules (including rules of selecting top candidates who will be selected for U.S. study visit)

— Begin to identify experts who would participate as mentors/coaches to teams, emphasizing ability to use competition as a recruiting tool to attract interns or employees after the competition concludes.

August 2021

— Begin to promote the competition among universities and mooting societies in Ukraine

— Announce upcoming trainings on IP for interested students

— Begin consolidating materials on identified website platform

September 2021

— Аnnounce the competition at universities and through social media, academic, and embassy channels

September, October 2021

— Conduct virtual and/or in-person trainings on IP and the link between IP and international contract/commercial law at Ukrainian universities (if virtual, two trainings open to all students, if in-person possibly full-day trainings at 2-4 different universities with simulcasted video link).

October 2021

— Identify interested students/teams. If there are enough Ukrainian students/teams, open to the competition to students/teams from other countries, including Georgia (CLDP can potentially sponsor) Poland, and the U.S.

— Set enrollment deadline for teams to register for the competition.

— Match teams with interested coaches/mentors from the legal and commercial sectors.

— Distribute materials.

November 2021 — April 2021

— Hold regular «office hours» where teams can meet with CLDP attorneys and experts to discuss the moot problem issues and IP/commercial law generally. 

— Identify experts who will rank/grade written arguments.

— Identify experts who will act as judges for in-person arguments and for IP conference.

December 2021 or January 2022

— CLDP can hold follow-up training on IP issues for participating teams (either in person, virtually, or hybrid).

January 2022

— Submission of written arguments part one due

— Experts review and rank/grade written arguments

February 2022

— Submission of written arguments part two due

— Experts review and rank/grade written arguments

April 26, 2022 (World IP Day)

— Conference in Kyiv on IP and Commercial Law.

— Final Competition — Oral Arguments.

— Winning Teams Selected.

May — June 2022

— Pairing of successful competitors with internship opportunities (if possible and agreed to by private sector and/or legal/judiciary community in/outside Ukraine).

July 2022

— Study tour to the U.S. for top students from the competition (selection criteria TBD, likely 6-8 students) to learn about IP Law and Policy.