Announcing the Winners of the 2nd Shamnad Basheer Essay Competition on IP Law!

Pic of Shamnad Basheer
A photograph of Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer

Following on from the success of last year’s inaugural edition of the Shamnad Basheer Essay Competition on IP Law, on May 14th, 2021 we announced the 2nd edition of the Shamnad Basheer Essay Competition on the occasion of Shamnad‘s 45th birth anniversary. Like last year, we kept the topic selection open to participants – asking them to choose any topic they wanted so long as it related to IP. And encouraged participants to draw inspiration from Shamnad’s scholarship. This year, we received fewer entries as compared to last year – presumably the pandemic fatigue has really set in amongst students. Nonetheless, we were glad to see entries across a range of interesting topics and are very happy to see relatively uncommon topics take the podium places. We shortlisted the top 6 essays from across the entries for our panel of esteemed judges, consisting of Prof N.S. Gopalakrishnan, Prof David Llewelyn, and Prof Madhavi Sunder (please click here for their bios). Now that we have collated the scores, we are very happy to announce the top 3 winning essays.

And the winners are:

1. The first prize goes to Ramakash G Suriaprakash, from Tamil Nadu National Law University, Tiruchirappalli (batch of 2021), for their essay titled, ‘Inventions Seriously Prejudicing the Environment: Can the Precautionary Principle Offer a Way Out?’

Our winning essay displays a wonderful exposition of a significant problem as well as thoughtful and creative engagement with possible policy responses to that problem.

This essay re-emphasises Section 3(b) exclusions of the Indian Patents Act regarding inventions which cause ‘serious prejudice’ to the environment, in the context of the climate crisis that humanity is facing today. The author notes that the issue covered by this provision has not been taken seriously in the country – from having a narrower scope than what is allowed under TRIPS, to having no serious engagement in patent manuals, to having no jurisprudential guidelines thus far. And then examines whether the Precautionary Principle from environmental law jurisprudence can be utilised to address this issue. After considering arguments for and against this idea, the author proposes at least two scenarios where the precautionary principle could be useful in the patent context.

The essay is available here.

2. The second prize goes to Devangini Rai, from University School of Law and Legal Studies,
Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (batch of 2021), for their essay titled, ‘Infringement of Publicity Rights: An Intellectual Property Approach’

[As taken from the essay]: The aim of this article is to analyse India’s approach in navigating through publicity rights. The article endorses an intellectual property approach to understand the right and its infringement. This is achieved by understanding the parallels between publicity right and trademark law. Further, the application of a publicity right requires checks and balances which is explained through exceptions derived from copyright law. Throughout the article, the author derives insights from US case laws which have had a considerable influence on Indian courts. Towards the end, the article contemplates whether India really needs a sui generis legislation on publicity rights or not.

The essay is available here.

3. The third prize goes to Shrudula Murthy, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad (batch of 2023), for their essay titled, ‘A Conflict of Rights: Public Photography, Copyright and Innovation’

[As edited from the essay] This essay focuses on the question of how one can balance the rights of the different parties engaged in public photography and, what outcome would best serve the interests of both copyright law and the public. To that end, the essay looks at the provisions and cases dealing with copyright infringement in public photography and the ‘freedom of panorama’ in the American, European, and to the extent available, Indian jurisprudence. The drawbacks in applying normative copyright defences in public photography are then explored. And finally, the essay concludes with some suggestions to reduce the ambiguity that currently exists.

The essay is available here.

The SpicyIP team would like to give our heartiest congratulations to the winners, and our gratitude to all the participants their enthusiastic participation, pandemic notwithstanding! Once again, we’re incredibly thankful to our wonderful panel of judges for lending their time to judge the essays and ensure the success of the competition!

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