Microsoft Encode Hackathon

Code something that matters and make it open.

Challenge Rules

This Challenge is sponsored by Microsoft Canada (1950 Meadowvale Blvd, Mississauga, ON L5N 8L9) (the “Sponsor”).   

The aim of these Rules is to set out the terms and conditions governing your participation in the Challenge. By registering for this Challenge, you fully and unconditionally agree to comply with these Rules. If you do not agree with any of these Rules, do not register for this Challenge and do not submit an entry.

  1. TERM

This Challenge begins on August 17th, 2020 and ends on September 30th, 2020. The Challenge will be accessible 24 hours a day on the dedicated Challenge website operated by Agorize at “the Challenge website”), subject to possible IT maintenance operations and malfunctions. Dates and times in these Rules refer to Eastern Standard Time (EST). 


 Any eligible person who is registered on the Challenge website and enrolls to participate in the Challenge (“Participant” or “You”), is required to review and accept these Rules. By accessing and accepting these Rules, You:   

  1. enter into a valid and enforceable contractual relationship with Sponsor regarding participation in the Challenge. The registration and enrolment in the Challenge do not set up any subordination relationship between the Sponsor and the Participant, and
  2. fully and unconditionally agree to comply with these Rules. Participants express their agreement by checking an online box while enrolling for the Challenge.   

 In the case of non-respect of these Rules, the Participant will be immediately disqualified from the Challenge and no prize will be awarded.   


To take part in the Challenge, we must have received your completed registration by September 20st, 2020.  

To register, the Participant must first have created a user account on the Challenge website, and must have truthfully and accurately completed required information, such as full name, email address, etc.   

Any registration based on inaccurate, false or incomplete information will result in the Participant’s disqualification. Refusing collection, recording and use of their personal data that is strictly necessary to perform the Challenge will result in the Participant’s disqualification. Participant is solely responsible for the information he/she provides while its registration. Any intentional or non-intentional mistake, anomaly or inconsistency, regarding this information, may result in the Participant’s disqualification. Sponsor reserves the right to proceed all necessary verifications regarding the Participant’s identity, postal and/or email address.  

Deletion of a Participant’s user account on the Challenge website will be deemed as a withdrawal from the Challenge. In this case, the Participant, regardless of whether the deletion results from the Participant’s personal act or not, will not participate in the Challenge, and will not obtain any compensation.  

You must also have accepted the Rules as well as the Terms and Conditions of Use and the Privacy Policy, during the creation of your user account and your registration to the Challenge.   

Registration for and participation in the Challenge is free, with no purchase or payment obligation.  


Participants must answer to the following criteria to have eligible profile to participate:

  • Professionals. Any individual aged from eighteen (18) years of age and/or with full legal capacity, who is currently (1) working in computer science-related area in Canada (2) unemployed but with skills and competencies to perform computer science-related position.   

Participants can take part only one time during the first round. Only one participation is eligible for the event.

All the documents that may confirm the Participant’s eligibility will be required prior to awarding any prizes (e.g. identity document, registration, student card etc.).   

This Challenge is not open to employees and representatives of the Sponsor and Agorize and the members of their families.   

This Challenge is void in countries where it is prohibited or restricted by law. 

Participants from the public sector are eligible to participate but not to receive the presented prizes. 


Participation in the Challenge must be as a team.  

  • Teams. Individual Participants may elect to form or join a team (“Team”) of (2) to (5) members maximum. Each Team member must have accepted these Rules. Sponsor may disqualify any Team (and all its members) in the case where any one member violates these Rules.  

The goal of the Challenge is for Participants to submit contributions (or projects, submissions) meeting the requirements determined by the Sponsor in the Challenge brief and that are formalized by deliverables.

The brief includes information regarding various deadlines, details of the prizes, Sponsor requirements etc. The Brief is accessible through the Challenge website. The rules are the reference that prevails in terms of information, regardless of all information published elsewhere about this challenge.


During the Challenge, Participants may upload any documents or other materials (such as texts, presentations, videos, etc.) relating to their project to the Challenge website in response and as a solution to the Sponsor’s Challenge (the “Deliverable(s)”).   

To be eligible, Deliverables must (1) address the specific issue set out in the Brief, (2)be in a common digital format, such as DOC, DOCX, PDF, PPT, PPTX, KEY, ODT, MP3, MPEG, MOV, MP4, and (3) in general terms must comply with these Rules. Deliverables are allowed in either English or French for the first two rounds, but finalists must present and deliver materials in English.   

Deliverable will be disqualified if it:

  • cannot be downloaded,
  • is not in the right format,
  • is incompatible, illegible, or unintelligible,

By submitting a Deliverable, Participants represent and warrant that:

  • The Deliverable includes exclusively contributions from a team.  
  • Otherwise, if content from a third party has been used in the development of the Deliverable, all rights, authorizations and agreements necessary to submit the Deliverable and grant the rights mentioned herein have been obtained. The existence of uncredited third-party contributions in the Deliverable will result in the disqualification of the Deliverable and the related Participants;   
  • No other individual and/or entity is entitled to claim any rights from the use of the Deliverable; and  
  • The content of the Deliverable does not and will not infringe or violate any rights of any third party or entity, including, without limitation, intellectual property rights, privacy, competition law, confidentiality, or any contractual or extracontractual right. All deliverables suspected of any law(s) and/or any third party’s right will be ineligible.  

Participants are responsible for and shall bear any costs or expenses associated with preparing and submitting Deliverables. Participants assume all risk of damaged, lost, late, incomplete, invalid, incorrect or misdirected Deliverables.   


Challenge Rounds. The Challenge consists of several rounds:   

  • Round One. Registrations to the challenge are accepted August 17th, 2020 to September 20th, 2020
  • Round Two. Deliverables will be accepted from September 21st, 2020, to September 27th, 2020. At the end of this Round, up to 15 teams will be selected to proceed to the Final Round.  
  • Final Round. Participants are not required to upload a Deliverable on the Challenge website for this Final Round.   

Deliverable. If a Participant does not upload a Deliverable on the Challenge website before the deadline, this will be considered as a withdrawal from the Challenge. The Participant may not join the Challenge and may not obtain any compensation from the Sponsor.   

Selection Criteria. Deliverables will be judged according to the Selection Criteria, described below. You agree and acknowledge that the Challenge relies on your creativity, capacity, ability, and ingenuity to solve difficult problems. The Challenge does not depend, even partially, on chance or luck, and therefore should not be considered as a lottery. Under no circumstances are factors such as appearance, religion, membership in a trade union, political opinions or sexual orientation considered.   

Notification to Participants. Once selection has been completed, Participants will be notified by email, phone, or by other means, at Sponsor’s discretion, of the results of each Round. The Sponsor will be free to alter the dates on which results are released should this become necessary due to the number of projects to be assessed. The ranking decided by the final jury will be announced to the Participants that are finalists.  

  1. Round Two

All Round One Deliverables must be received by Sponsor on or before September 27th, 2020. Deliverables must meet the specifications set out in Section 6, above, and include:  

  • A 5 to 10-slide presentation of their Project produced using the template available for download from the Challenge website, in PDF format.


  1. Final Round

The Final Round consists of an oral presentation of the selected projects by the Participants during the Finale. Participants are not required to upload a Deliverable to the Challenge website before the Final Round.   

However, Participants must prepare a Deliverable which meets the specifications set out in Section 6 and which include:   

  • A presentation of 10 minutes maximum including a demonstration of the prototype 

This document will be used as a presentation document during the oral presentation for the finals given by the Participants involved in the Project.

At the end of the Final Round, the jury will choose the winning projects and will rank the finalists.   

  1. PRIZES   

The prizes to be awarded to Challenge winners are subject to all of the following. They are awarded to the winners of the Challenge and are subject to compliance with the following cumulative conditions:  

  • The Deliverables comply with Section 6 (“Deliverables”);
  • Each Participant of a winning project complies with Sections 9 and 11;  
  • It can be proven that the winning Participants fulfill the conditions of eligibility of Section 4.  

Prizes will only be delivered to the verified winners. Please allow twelve (12) weeks for delivery. Return of any prize/prize notification as undeliverable may result in disqualification and selection of an alternate winner. No prize will be awarded to winners who do not fulfill the above.

Subject to the Terms and Conditions, once confirmed by Sponsor, the winner(s) will receive their prizes. 

  • Grand Prize: Surface Headphones 2 (CAD $349,99 VAT included);
  • Second Place Prize: Surface Earbuds (CAD $259,99 VAT included);
  • Third Place Prize: Surface Arc Mouse (CAD $99,99 VAT included).

Each member of a Participant Team will receive its own prize.   

No assignment or transfer of prizes is allowed by a winner. If a potential winner cannot be reached, is unable to accept the prize or any portion of the prize for any reason, Sponsor shall have no further obligation to such potential winner. Sponsor will not replace any lost or stolen prizes after being awarded to winners. Winners will accept the prize “as it is”. Sponsor disclaims any warranty regarding the Prizes.   

In the event a Participant (a winner) cannot be reached, by email or by phone, for more than three (3) months after the first attempt to reach them was made, he/she will be deemed as having waived their right to claim the prize and will not be entitled to any prize or any kind of compensation.    

If the prize as initially planned is unavailable, Sponsor will be free to substitute another prize of similar value. Any such decision is at the Sponsor’s sole discretion.  

Any Participant who does not fulfill the conditions of Participation as provided in the Rules during their registration and/or at any time during the Challenge will be summarily disqualified from the Challenge without prior notice and will not be entitled to any prize. If a prize is awarded to a Participant who does not meet the conditions of Participation when registering or throughout the duration of the Challenge, the Sponsor reserves the right to require the Participant to return the awarded prize.

Participants from the public sector are eligible to participate but not to receive the presented prizes. 


The Participant acknowledges and consents that Sponsor & partners of the sponsor may, throughout North America and for the duration of the Challenge and for a period of two year following the Final Round using the Challenge for publicity, including for Sponsor’s advertising or other marketing purposes, (by any means and through any format (website, advertising banners, social networks, newsletter, press release) now known or unknown to date, free of charge or for a consideration.   

In particular, you consent the using, by the Sponsor, of your name and surname, your city and region of residence, the name of the institution in which you studied or in which you obtained your diplomas and other biographical information, your image , the information regarding the Prize (if you are a winner), the name of your company and its distinctive signs (if you are a Start-up) and any other personal data that you submit with your Deliverables as well as the content of your Deliverables relating to the Challenge.   

As an example, each Participant authorizes the Sponsor using the photographs taken during the Final to disseminate them via any communication medium.  

Such use does not entitle the winner to any other payment than the Prize he/she received. The Sponsor agrees to cease using the aforementioned elements in connection with the Participant at the end of the aforementioned period.  


The Sponsor has no obligation to keep the information contained in the Deliverables Confidential. In general terms, when submitting any Deliverables, the Participants understand, agree and accept that any information contained therein may be publicly disclosed by the Sponsor.  

If you are a prize winner, the Sponsor may request that you execute a confidentiality/non-disclosure agreement for the purpose of entering into negotiations regarding the further development of your project, as described in your Deliverable.  Such confidentiality/non-disclosure agreement will be directed to your Deliverable and all intellectual property that it may contain.  

Furthermore, Participants acknowledge that the Sponsor may currently or in the future developing information internally, or receiving information from other parties, that is similar to the information contained in any of the projects. Accordingly, nothing herein shall prohibit Sponsor from independently acquiring, developing, or having developed for it, products, concepts, systems, services, or techniques that are similar to or compete with the products, concepts, systems or techniques contemplated by or embodied in any Deliverable.   

The Participants recognize that other Participants, individuals or entities may have provided Sponsor or others, or made public, or may in the future submit, or make public, content that is the same or similar to any piece of information contained in any of the projects. Hence, the Participants acknowledge, agree and accept that the Sponsor shall have the right to use such same or similar materials and that the Participants will not be entitled to any compensation arising from the Sponsor’s use of such materials.   


Definitions. For the purposes of this section,   

  • "Intellectual Property Rights" refers to any copyright or other rights over a brand, a design or a model, a patent and, more generally, any element, (including trade secrets and know how), that may be protected by national and/or international laws or conventions on intellectual property (“Intellectual Property Rights”)  
  • “Previous Rights” refer to any Intellectual Property Rights and/or any associated know-how held by the Participants before the start date of the Challenge (“Previous Rights”)   
  • “Creations” refer to any software (including source and object code software),database, technical specifications, text, design, model, information, knowledge, method, process or product, as well as any resulting elements and/or processes likely or otherwise to be protected according to national and/or international laws or conventions on intellectual property developed by any Participant as a part of any submitted deliverable throughout the Challenge (“Creations”).  

Warranty of non-infringement. When submitting any Deliverable, at any stage of the Challenge, each Participant guarantees to Sponsor that he/she is the co/owner and/or co/holder of the Intellectual Property Rights regarding all or part of the Creations contained in the Deliverables submitted at any stage of the Challenge, and that he/she has obtained all rights and permissions regarding all pre-existing Creations and any elements of the Deliverables for which he/she does not hold the relevant rights.  

Each Participant guarantees (1) that his/her contribution is original and unprecedented; (2) that it does not infringe upon the copyright or any Intellectual Property Rights of any third party; (3) that all the elements of which his/her submissions are formed, as well as all pieces of contributions and information communicated in the submission presentation documents are accurate, reliable and complete; and (4) that the submission of the relevant Deliverables does not constitute an act of unfair competition of any kind.  

It is compulsory for participants to indicate the source of any pre-existing Creations of whichever nature and on whichever support that is included in any submitted deliverable. Any Deliverable involving several Participants constitutes a collaborative work and it should be treated as such in accordance with the applicable regulations in force.  

Liability. The sponsor cannot be held liable for any infringement of the above provisions by Participants. Each Participant shall indemnify Sponsor against any disturbance, action, claim, opposition and demand or eviction attempt from any third party in connection with any Creation in the Deliverables (Intellectual Property Rights included).  

By submitting a Deliverable and participating in this Challenge, you are not granting Sponsor any rights to any intellectual property supporting all of part of the Deliverable and Sponsor makes no claim to ownership of your Deliverable or any intellectual property that it may contain.


Update of the Rules. The Sponsor reserves the right to amend these Rules at any time, including the Challenge duration in case of operational imperatives, without prior notice to Participants regarding the enforcement or the validity of these amendments. Participants are encouraged to consult these Rules regularly. Participants expressly waive all claims or disputes related to any amendment to these Rules by the Sponsor.   

Should any paragraph of these Rules be declared or judged illegal, unenforceable or void by a court decision, the paragraph in question will be considered null and void, but all other unaffected paragraphs will be enforced within the limits of the law.  

Challenge Cancellation or Suspension. The Sponsor reserves the right in its discretion, to (1) cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Challenge and these Rules, for any reason, at any time and without any liability, and (2) to limit or restrict participation in the Challenge. The Sponsor will not be held liable for the modification, cancellation or suspension of the Challenge and no compensation or remuneration will be due to the Participants.  


The Sponsor will in no way be held liable in the event of breakdown or failure, regardless of the cause, of any telecommunications network used that causes Participants difficulty or prevents Participants from identifying themselves on or gaining access to the Challenge website.  

Participants agree that company, its affiliates and all of their respective officers, directors, employees, contractors, representatives and agents (“released parties”) will have no liability whatsoever for, and will be released and held harmless by participants for any claims, liabilities, or causes of action of any kind or nature for any injury, loss or damages of any kind, including direct, indirect, incidental, consequential or punitive damages to persons, including without limitation disability or death.  Without limiting the foregoing, everything on the challenge website and in connection with the challenge is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement.  Some jurisdictions may not allow the limitations or exclusion of liability for incidental or consequential damages or exclusion of implied warranties, in which case such limitation or exclusion shall apply only to the extent permitted by the law in the relevant jurisdiction.   

Participation in the Challenge implies acknowledgment and acceptance of the characteristics, limits, and risks of the internet and related technologies, particularly with regards to performance, response time, the security of software and computer equipment against various potential attacks, such as viruses, logic bombs or Trojans, and loss or misuse of data. As a result, the Sponsor will not be held liable in any way for any damage incurred by Participants arising from these characteristics, limits, and risks, which Participants accept by registering and taking part in the Challenge.  

The Sponsor will not in any case be held liable for damages resulting from faults with or delays in the submission of deliverables by Participants, including refusal to accept these deliverables as a consequence of their submission outside the deadlines set out in the Rules, from faults with or delays to the sending of any emails by the Participant sent as part of the Challenge, or from any alterations made to the deliverables independently of the Sponsor.  

The Sponsor will not, in any case, be held liable for damages resulting from the services provided by a third-party relating to the prizes.  

The Sponsor will not be held liable for the consequences of a Participant’s disqualification from the Challenge as a result of their violation of these Rules.  


Participation in the Challenge requires the communication of the Participant's personal data ("Personal Data").  

Participant’s personal data is subject to processing within the meaning of the regulations on the protection of personal data (The EU 2016/679 General Data Protection Regulation and the Council of 27 April 2016, known as GDPR) for which the Sponsor defines the purposes and means and is, as such, “Data controller” within the meaning of the GDPR.  

The purposes of the processing are:   

  • To meet the organization of the challenge needs   
  • To organize the intermediation between the Participant and the Sponsor, to ensure identification, communication and preservation of the exchanges with the Participant 

In accordance with the provisions of the GDPR, the Sponsor undertakes to implement organizational and technical security measures in order to protect all Participant’s Personal Data. The Sponsor undertakes to allow the exercise of their rights from GDPR.  

  1. CLAIMS   

Any Participant’s claims arising from the Challenge, should be addressed no later than thirty (30) days following the Challenge end date to All claims must include: (1) the Participant’s complete contact details (name, address, email address and phone); (2) the name of the Challenge; and (3) a clear and detailed explanation for the claim.  


The Challenge and any action related thereto shall be governed by the law applicable to Canadian law. 

In case of persistent litigation beyond a period of fifteen (15) days after the Participant has filed a claim, the Sponsor and the Participant undertake to submit their dispute to an amicable conciliation prior to any legal proceedings. The party wishing to initiate conciliation shall inform the other party by means of a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt in which it will inform of its intentions and will explain the cause. If no agreement is reached between the parties within thirty (30) days after receipt of the registered letter, the parties regain their freedom of action.  

In case of persistent disagreement on the application or interpretation of the Rules, and in the absence of an amicable settlement, any dispute that may arise between the parties, will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Canadian courts to which the parties expressly grant jurisdiction, even in the case of multiple defendants, in summary, proceedings, appeal by guarantee or by motion.  


Microsoft is dedicated to empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
This includes the Encode Hackathon, where we seek to provide a respectful, friendly, professional experience for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, physical appearance, disability, age, race or religion. We do not tolerate any behaviour that is degrading to any gender, race, sexual orientation, or disability, or any behaviour that would violate the Microsoft Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Policy, Equal Employment Opportunity Policy, or Standards of Business Conduct. Individuals are responsible for knowing and abiding by our culture standards. We encourage everyone to assist in creating a welcoming and safe environment.
Please report any concerns, harassing behavior, or suspicious or disruptive activity to the organizer or Microsoft Runs on Trust website.

Microsoft reserves the right to refuse admittance to or remove any person from the Encode Hackathon or any other future lives and events.