In March, the International Trademark Association’s prestigious Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition celebrated its 30th anniversary as law school students from across the United States participated in the 2020-2021 finals. Northwestern Pritzker School of Law won first place overall in the milestone year of the competition, which is named after the longtime chairman of the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). For the first time ever, the INTA hosted the competition virtually rather than in a courtroom in Washington, D.C.
Nearly 70 teams participated in the 30th anniversary competition. Each year, many of the brightest young minds in the trademark world unite to honor Saul Lefkowitz, whose distinguished career was dedicated to the development of trademark and unfair competition law. The competition focuses on a different problem each year. Teams of students write a brief reflecting the issues in the problem and argue the case in six regional competitions before a panel of volunteer attorneys and volunteer judges from various district and other courts. Then, the two winning teams from each regional competition argue the case in a national competition before TTAB judges.
“The competition, from start to finish, refined my legal research, writing, and oral advocacy skills—all of which I know will be continually important in my future legal career,” said Anthony Khilkov (JD ’23), one of the members of the Law School’s team, in a press release. “The most important part was bonding with my teammates and seeing our hard work pay off. Our win is a testament to the fact that dedication, teamwork, and most importantly, fun, are the ingredients for success.”
Both of his teammates, Elizabeth Charles (JD ’23) and Andrew Hartford (JD ’23), agreed with his sentiments. “I am so thankful I had the opportunity to dive into moot court so early in my legal education,” said Charles. “My positive experience in the Lefkowitz Competition solidified my desire to pursue some form of litigation in my career.” Hartford added, “The skills and legal experience that came from competing will benefit me immeasurably as I advance through my legal career, as will the relationships I have built with my teammates through many days and nights of research, writing, and preparation.”
The Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition began in 1991, just months after Lefkowitz passed away. John Baum (Owen, Wickersham & Erickson, P.C., San Francisco, California), was on the University of California, Davis team that won the inaugural competition and is now a member of the Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Project Team. “The competition was the single most important factor in me becoming and remaining a trademark lawyer over the last 30 years,” said Baum. “It wasn’t so important only due to the academics; it was the personal connections that I made with lawyers and other students.”