Announcing the 2nd Shamnad Basheer Essay Competition on Intellectual Property Law

A photograph of Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer sitting amidst school students in a classroom
A photograph of Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer sitting amidst some school students in a classroom

On the occasion of our founder Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer’s 45th birth anniversary today, we at SpicyIP are proud to announce the second edition of the Shamnad Basheer Essay Competition on Intellectual Property Law. We’d started this competition last year to celebrate his memory and his legacy of outstanding scholarship. The response to the competition was overwhelming – we received a total of 89 entries from law students across India on an impressive range of topics. The competition was judged by a panel of esteemed judges comprising Justice (Retd.) Prabha Sridevan, Ms. Jayashree Watal and Prof. Siva Thambisetty. The names of the winners of the first edition and their entries can be viewed here.

A master with the pen, Shamnad 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 (a website dedicated to him).

In his time, Shamnad 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. Shamnad won the second prize in that competition for his essay titled ‘Artificial Invention: Mind the Machine’.

Submission Guidelines

The details of the competition are as follows:

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.

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

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.

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 Shamnad’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 Shamnad 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 enforcement of India’s patent law led him to suing 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.
  • The deadline for submissions is July 14, 2021 (23:59 IST).
  • Please e-mail all submissions and queries to [email protected] (only).
  • Please submit a covering letter stating the law school where you are enrolled as a student, along with your essay.

Prizes for Winning Essays

The winning essays will receive the following prizes:

First prize: INR 15,000

Second prize : INR 10,000

Third prize : INR 5,000

Panel of Judges

Entries will be scored on creativity and analytical strength. Judges will also take into account entries that demonstrate the values Shamnad 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 may shortlist essays to be submitted to an external panel of experts for the final decision. The following experts have very graciously consented to judging the competition and we are very thankful to them for sparing their time and providing us with their inputs for this essay competition:

Prof. David Llewelyn

David Llewelyn is a practising lawyer, academic and arbitrator. He is the Managing Director of Singapore law firm David Llewelyn & Co. LLC; Professor (Practice) at Singapore Management University’s School of Law and Professor of Intellectual Property Law at King’s College London; and sits as an arbitrator in international commercial disputes. He is an IP Adjudicator at the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore and co-author of leading texts on UK and EU trade marks (Kerly’s) and intellectual property law (Cornish, Llewelyn & Aplin), as well as ‘Cases, Materials and Commentary on Singapore Intellectual Property Law’ (2018) and business book ‘Invisible Gold in Asia: Creating Wealth through Intellectual Property’ (2010).

Prof. N.S. Gopalakrishnan

Prof. N.S. Gopalakrishnan, is an Honorary Professor at Inter University Centre for IPR Studies, Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT). He was the Founder Director of the Inter-University Centre for IPR Studies at CUSAT, which today is one of the leading centres of IP research in India. He held the IP chair at the centre until his retirement. During the course of his career, Prof. Gopalakrishnan has extensively advised the Government of India on international IP treaty negotiations and national legislation. He has also authored 3 books and several peer-reviewed articles on IP law. His research and teaching has focused on a developmental perspective of IP law.

Prof. Madhavi Sunder 

Prof. Madhavi Sunder is a Professor of Law and Associate Dean for international and graduate programs at the Georgetown University Law Centre. Previously, she has served as the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Law at the University of California, Davis and has also been a Visiting Professor of Law at the Yale Law School, the University of Chicago Law School and Cornell Law School. Prof. Sunder has earlier been selected as a Carnegie Scholar in 2006 and was the author of ‘The Most Cited International Intellectual Property Article of the Decade (2016)’ (for Madhavi Sunder, IP3, 59 Stanford Law Review 257 (2006)). She has made remarkable contributions in academia through her numerous publications in the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review and many others, and has edited/ authored four books, including ‘From Goods To A Good Life:Intellectual Property And Global Justice‘ published by the Yale University Press (2012). A leading scholar of law and culture, Prof. Sunder’s work intertwines IP, Human Rights and Freedom of Speech.

If you’ve any queries, please drop us an e-mail at [email protected]We eagerly look forward to your submissions!

P.S. We’re now on Instagram as well! Follow us @spicyipblog for the latest updates on the blog. 

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