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Shamnad Basheer Essay Competition on Intellectual Property Law by SpicyIp [Cash Prizes Upto Rs. 50k]: Submit by July 14!

Submissions are invited for Shamnad Basheer Essay Competition on Intellectual Property Law by SpicyIp. Submit by July 14!

About the Competition

Celebrating our founder Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer’s 48th birth anniversary, SpicyIP is thrilled to announce the 2024 edition of the Shamnad Basheer Essay Competition on Intellectual Property Law!

As many would know, his intellectual passion and incessant curiosity continues to inspire and motivate the thousands of lives that he touched. The essay competition continues in this spirit, aiming to foster a culture of relentless inquiry and growth, as well as to celebrate his memory and his legacy of outstanding scholarship.

A master with the pen, Prof. Basheer was a prolific writer. Apart from publishing extensively in academic journals (most of the publications can be accessed on his SSRN page), he was also the rare Indian academic who wrote extensively for law students and the lay audience, through various media such as SpicyIP and mainstream newspapers.

A collection of all his publications and public interest interventions can be found on SpicyIP here (also accessible from our Resources page) as well as on shamnad.com (a website dedicated to him).

In his time, Prof. Basheer won prizes in three prestigious essay competitions. The first was an essay competition held by the Stanford Technology Law Review. He won the second prize in that competition for a great piece on the ‘Policy Style’ Reasoning of the Indian Patent Office.

The second essay competition that he won was held by the International Association for the Advancement of Teaching and Research in Intellectual Property (ATRIP) for young academics. Shamnad won the very first edition of that competition for his essay on Section 3(d) of the Patents Act.

The third was an essay competition held by CREATe on the topic of how Artificial Intelligence would change the practice of intellectual property law. Prof. Basheer won the second prize in that competition for his essay titled ‘Artificial Invention: Mind the Machine’.

We are thrilled to announce that we once again have a fantastic panel of judges for the Competition, and incidentally all three of them have not only been huge supporters of the blog for several years now, but we’ve also had the pleasure of them having published on the blog! Please see below for further details!

Submission Guidelines

Eligibility: The competition will be open to students currently enrolled in any LL.B. program (or its equivalent – meaning students enrolled in J.D. programs can take part) across the world, as well as to those who have completed their first law degree in 2022 or later.

The details of the competition are as follows:

Registration: There is no registration fee or registration process for the competition. You may e-mail us your essay whenever it is ready, within the deadline.

Co-authorship: Only single author submissions will be accepted for the essay competition. A submission cannot have two or more authors. Submissions with more than one author will not be considered.

AI Tools: Usage of AI tools to contribute to the text of the submitted essay is not permitted and will lead to the entry being disqualified.

Selection of Topic: The topic of the essay can be anything related to intellectual property rights – the more creative the better. We encourage participants to take inspiration from Prof. Basheer’s work, which has challenged the orthodoxy of conventional IP wisdom by looking at the subject through the lens of the global south and its development needs. Two values that guided him through the course of his academic writing, were the need for transparency and democratic participation, during the process of making the law and implementation. His commitment to transparency in the enforcement of India’s patent law led him to sue the Patent Office on two occasions in order to secure our right to information. He was also playful in his writing, never afraid to think and communicate unconventionally. He brought rigour and substance to his non-conforming ways and we encourage you to bring the same spirit into your entries.

Word Limit: The word limit for submissions is 5,000 words (inclusive of footnotes).


  • Please submit the essays in a MS Word format, with 1.5 line spacing. Please do not submit essays in a PDF format.
  • We are not prescribing any specific format for footnoting. As long as it is consistent, it should not be a problem.

Deadline and Other Details

  • All submissions must be original and unpublished.
  • If the entry is published elsewhere prior to the announcement of the results of this essay competition, it will not be considered. 
  • The deadline for submissions is July 14, 2024 (23:59 IST).  
  • Please e-mail all submissions and queries to submissions[at]spicyip[dot]com (only).
  • Please submit a covering letter stating:
  • the law school where you are enrolled as a student, along with your essay; or if you are a recent graduate, please mention the law school and year of graduation in the covering letter.
  • A disclaimer that you have not used AI tools to write any part of your essay. 

Prizes for Winning Essays

Aside from getting published on the blog, the winning essays will receive the following additional prizes:

  • First prize: INR 25,000
  • Second prize: INR 15,000
  • Third prize: INR 10,000

Panel of Judges

The essays will be judged on the basis of the author’s creativity and analytical strength in articulating the arguments. Judges will also take into account entries that demonstrate the values Prof. Basheer displayed in his life and career. This does not mean you have to necessarily agree with everything he wrote.

Judges reserve the right not to award the prize if it is considered that no entry is of sufficiently high standard or to divide the prize between two or more entries if they so decide. Judges’ decisions in this respect will be final. The SpicyIP team will shortlist essays to be submitted to an external panel of experts for the final decision.

This brings us to the fantastic panel of judges who have graciously agreed to judge the entries for this edition of the competition. This year the entries will be judged by a panel comprising Prof. (Dr.) Mrinalini Kochupillai, Mr. Murali Neelakantan, and Justice Gautam S. Patel (Retd.). We are grateful to them for sparing their time. Please see their brief profiles below:

Prof. (Dr.) Mrinalini Kochupillai

Prof. (Dr.) Mrinalini Kochupillai is the founder of SIRN and is a former guest professor and core scientist at the Artificial Intelligence for Earth Observation (AI4EO) Future Lab, Technical University of Munich. In a career spanning over 17 years in academia, Prof. Kochupillai has donned many hats including that of a senior research fellow with the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (2014-2018), Program Director (2014-2017) and lecturer at the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center.

A graduate from the National Law Institute University, Bhopal, in 2003, Prof. Kochupillai pursued an LL.M. in Intellectual Property, Commerce & Technology from the University of New Hampshire, School of Law in 2006. She completed her Ph.D. at the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich as a full scholar and fellow of the International Max Planck Research School for Competition and Innovation (2009-13).

Prof. Kochupillai’s areas of interest range from business law, patents, plant variety protection, sustainable innovations in agriculture, and business ethics. Prof. Kochupillai’s team is an ERC Starting Grant Winner (2023) for developing a novel system in the ReSeed Project to create a transparent, decentralized and digital marketplace where farmers can share their seeds and valuable know-how with other farmers and researchers around the world.

Prof. Kochupillai has been associated with the blog since its early days, having been a regular blogger with the team in 2007-08 (see here), and relatively more recently, she and her team partnered with the blog to power an open, public consultation on a position paper on Sustainable Seeds Innovations.

Mr Murali Neelakantan

Murali Neelakantan is the Principal Lawyer at amicus. He is a dual qualified lawyer (English solicitor and Indian advocate). His current area of research is healthcare policy. He worked with Cipla as global general counsel and with Khaitan & Co as senior partner.

In London, he was a partner with Arnold & Porter, and later with Ashurst. Mr Neelakantan has been on the board of directors of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals and TTK Prestige Ltd. As an expert on competition and IP, Mr Neelakantan has authored several incisive op-eds, focusing on the healthcare system, including for BloombergQuint, NDTV Profit, The Hindu, The Wire, Indian Express, Moneycontrol, Scroll, etc.

A 1996 graduate of the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, Mr Neelakantan is also a co-editor for the book, “An Idea of a Law School- Ideas from The Law School”. His academic research has been published in the NLSIR, NLSBLR, Indian Public Policy Review and The Lancet Regional Health – South East Asia.

He has been featured as an expert by numerous Indian and international media including Financial Times, British Medical Journal, as well as on numerous podcasts like the Firm, Shortcast over Coffee, and the Seen and the Unseen.

A long-time friend of Prof Basheer, IDIA and SpicyIP, Mr Neelakantan has regularly provided extremely useful advice and insights for us in many of our previous research endeavours, and has also co-authored a post on the issue of trademark protection on colours of medicines and medical devices.

Justice Gautam S. Patel

Justice G. S. Patel (Retd.) is known for being one of the finest IP judges the country has seen, with his orders and judgements being filled not only with judicial rigour, but also with scholarly, witty, and often humorous observations, captivating the minds of lawyers and laypeople alike.

Some of the orders showcasing Justice Patel’s signature style include Go Holdings Pvt. Ltd. v. Interglobe Aviation Ltd., Jagdish Kamath v. Lime and Chilli Hospitality Services, and Balaji Motion Pictures v. BSNL (see here for a list of 10 eloquent decisions by Justice Patel that depicted his creative and hard hitting writing style).

A graduate of St. Xavier’s College and Government Law College, Justice Patel started practice in 1987 in Mumbai, focusing on commercial, corporate, and civil litigation while also partaking in various environmental and pro bono litigations like those relating to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Melghat National Park.

He was a recipient of the First International Fellowship at Pacific Energy & Resources Center, Sausalito, California in environmental law in 1994-1995. Justice Patel was also a part time lecturer at the Government Law, Mumbai, prior to his elevation as a judge of the Bombay High Court in 2013, and taught administrative law, constitutional law, and environmental law.

Justice Patel’s penmanship and witty observations extend even beyond his decisions and he has earlier contributed to Economic & Political Weekly, TimeOut Mumbai, the Mumbai Reader, etc.

Long time readers of the blog will also remember that Justice Patel authored an incisive and thought provoking post on SpicyIP, that incited a discussion on whether the nature of the content of a work has an impact on its protection under copyright.

Justice Patel was rated as one of the top 50 IP personalities by Managing IP, in 2014-2015. A testament to his contributions to the Bench, Justice Patel is the first judge to receive a full court reference on his retirement from the Bombay High Court.

Click here for the official notification.

Source: Lawctopus

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