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Law School prevails in Intellectual Property Moot Court regional competition

The University of Texas School of Law defeated South Texas College of Law on March 17, 2013, in the final round of the Southern Regional component of the Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Moot Court. This competition is sponsored by the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), a professional development organization for intellectual property lawyers. The Southern Regional, held this year in the federal courthouse in Houston, was hosted by members of the local AIPLA chapter.

The Law School’s team of champions consists of Yingying Zeng, ’14, and Colleen Bloss, ’13, both of whom plan to pursue careers in intellectual property litigation. Bloss was also awarded “best advocate” honors. The team is coached by Shalla Santos Sluyter, ’06, and Meredith Fitzpatrick, ’07. Sluyter and Fitzpatrick themselves represented the Law School in this same competition as students, winning a national championship in 2006. Since graduating, Sluyter has coached several moot court teams for the Law School, including the 2009 and 2011 champions in the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Uvaldo Herrera National Moot Court Competition. Fitzpatrick practices at an Austin intellectual property law boutique, Daffer McDaniel LLP.

For the AIPLA competition, members of the two-person team must write two distinct briefs—one for the appellant, one for the appellee. Both advocates then participate in oral argument before panels of judges. The competition problem involves complex intellectual property law issues, simulating cases that would be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the only subject-matter-specific federal appellate court. The competition is named for Judge Giles Rich, who was the Federal Circuit’s first chief judge. This year’s problem involves a claim for patent infringement against sellers of a smart-phone mapping application. The issues are whether the district court properly granted a preliminary injunction against the sellers and whether the sellers were properly joined as codefendants.

Zeng and Bloss took top honors in a field of sixteen schools competing for the title. They defeated the University of Denver College of Law, Louisiana State University Law Center, and the University of Houston Law Center before advancing to the finals. The Law School’s team, as champions, and South Texas, as finalists, will travel to Washington, D.C., April 17-19, 2013, to contend for the national title against the top teams from each of four regions.

“The Law School is very proud of these students’ commitment to excellence in oral and written advocacy,” said Gretchen Sween, ’03, the Law School’s director of interscholastic moot court. “Their investment in this demanding extracurricular endeavor has paid off in the short term and will certainly accrue to their benefit as members of the IP bar.”

The Law School’s participation in interscholastic moot court competitions is made possible in part by The David J. Beck Center for Legal Research, Writing, and Appellate Advocacy. The new Beck Center was launched last spring with the generous support of David J. Beck, ’65. Beck is a life trustee of the Law School Foundation, founder of the litigation boutique Beck Redden LLP, and a nationally recognized trial lawyer.

Contact: Gretchen Sween, gsween@law.utexas.edu

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