moot court team

Moot Court Third in Regional Competition

Posted On March 2, 2014

Georgia State University College of Law’s Trademark Moot Court team received third place Feb. 8 in the International Trademark Association’s Saul Lefkowitz Southeast Regional Competition, which addresses issues in U.S. trademark and unfair competition law.

Team members Eric Connelly (J.D. ’14), Matthew Goings (J.D. ’15), Phil Parham (J.D. ‘15) and Patricia Uceda (J.D. ’15) participated in the 23rd annual event honoring Saul Lefkowitz, who dedicated his career to the development of trademark law. The team had to prepare a brief reflecting the issues in the memorandum opinion, which outlined a fictional case, Riggs Houston. v. Laredo Specialty Products Inc. and Lance Laredo, then argue its case in front of a panel.

Jennifer D. Grant (J.D. ’14) coached the team, which spent months preparing its brief, exploring whether the District Court erred in concluding that the plaintiff’s Riggs Guitar was entitled to trade dress protection and in finding a likelihood of confusion with the defendants’ miniature guitar, which the court concluded were not counterfeits.

“The Lefkowitz competition was a great experience. Delving into trademarks and formulating arguments was fun and challenging,” Goings says. “I’m thankful for the opportunity.”

To prepare for oral arguments, the team relied on other Moot Court members, assistant professor Yaniv Heled, who benched their practice rounds and provided constructive feedback.

Alumni Jeff Kuester (J.D. ’93), Elizabeth Lester (J.D. ’05 ) and Warren Thomas (J.D. ’11) also were helpful with the team’s preparation. In addition to critiquing the team’s arguments, they organized groups of attorneys from their respective firms Taylor English Duma LLP, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP and Troutman Sanders to bench practices. Attorneys from Arnall Golden Gregory LLP and Meunier Carlin & Curfman LLC also participated.

“Everyone did an outstanding job,” Grant says. “The judges were impressed with their handle on the facts and case law and their ability to answer questions and seamlessly get back to their arguments.”

The team credits that ability to Heled’s guidance, along with the alumni and law firms that benched them to prepare.

“I’m very interested in trademark law, and this competition was a wonderful opportunity to litigate a trade dress case in front of real judges and intellectual property attorneys,” Uceda says. “I’m so glad I was a part of it and so thankful to all the attorneys who donated their time to coach us.”


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