In September of 2004, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Faculty of Law at the University of Jordan and the Arab Society for Intellectual Property (ASIP) to organize a Simulated Intellectual Property (IP) Tribunal, also known as a Moot Court competition, on IP topics among law students at the Jordanian universities. The Moot Court Competition at Jordan University was developed following the success of similar models at other universities, such as Harvard University in the United States. The first Moot Court Competition was held in conjunction with Jordan University in 2005. As a result of the obvious success which this competition has achieved in its very first cycle in 2005, the Dean announced that it will be held on an annual basis to provide law students with the required knowledge in the legal and IP fields.
The competition aims at enhancing concepts of Intellectual Property in the local and regional contexts through motivating students to read and search more about IP issues and to increase their awareness about the role which IP plays in the economy. During the second year, there was an even greater interest in the competition among Faculty of Law students. There were several stages to the competition which began on March 20, 2006. On March 20th, 2006 an advertisement at the Faculty of Law of Jordan University announced registration for the event.
The competition was organized by two committees, the Coordinating Committee and the Executive Committee. The Coordinating Committee, which handled all administrative duties related to the competition, consisted of three representatives from the Faculty of Law and ASIP.The Executive Committee, consisting of representatives from the Jordan Ministry of Justice, the Faculty of Law of Jordanian University, and the Jordan Ministry of Industry and Trade, evaluated all applications and arguments submitted by competing teams. Teams were eliminated based on the arguments presented to the Executive Committee.
Students of the Faculty of Law formed teams and applied to participate in the competition by writing an essay on their law studies, the importance of IP, and why they would like to participate in the competition. Twelve teams submitted applications , and four&teams were selected to work on the case for the finals. The contest’s case concentrated on a company called “Take away” which is specialized in the domain of preparing meals for diabetes patients and owns the trademark “Be Healthy”. This trademark is being registered in twenty countries but not in Jordan. The company opens a branch in Jordan to prepare its trademarked meals “Be Healthy". Meanwhile, another company starts preparing such meals making all the required promotion also under the trademark “Be Healthy.” The final four teams in the competition submitted two 4-5 page arguments defending each company. Those who have reached the final stage of the court were selected because of the best performance, legal preparation and their capabilities to defend the case. Finally, two teams were chosen to present final arguments in a mock court trial. Each team was assigned a company to defend and was told to prepare two witnesses to present at the trial. Teams presented written arguments to the competition’s Executive Committee to be reviewed before presenting oral arguments at the trial.
On May 28, 2006 after much preparation and practice, the two finalist teams presented arguments for each company in the trademark case, as well as their witnesses, in front of the presiding Judge who was a representative of the Ministry of Justice. Additionally, each team had an opportunity to raise objections against the opposing team’s arguments and to question their witnesses. The competition provided participating students with the legal and practical experience that will benefit them in the future.
The competition offered first and second place winners training contracts in the fields of law and Intellectual Property. Additionally, the first place team received a monetary prize.
The Moot Court Competition presents one of several initiatives taken in the Arab world to raise awareness of Intellectual Property issues among students in the Arab region. It is the first and only competition of its kind in the Arab region, and ASIP administration hopes to extend it to other universities in the Arab region in the coming year. The presiding Judge during the final arguments in the competition emphasized the importance of promoting Intellectual Property rights in the Arab region and the judicial system to all students and attendees of the final competition. The Moot Court Competition supported and promoted justice in the courts regarding IP rights.
Currently ASIP is working towards signing Memorandums of Understanding with other universities in the Arab region to hold similar competitions in the near future. The competition is an effort to provide law students with practical experience in judicial cases, as well as promote IP rights within the Arab region. This is an overall effort to promote stronger enforcement of IP rights in the judicial systems all over the Arab region.