On the occasion of our founder Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer’s 46th birth anniversary today, we at SpicyIP are proud to announce the third edition of the Shamnad Basheer Essay Competition on Intellectual Property Law.
We’d started this competition in 2020 to celebrate his memory and his legacy of outstanding scholarship. The response to the competition was overwhelming in the previous years and we’ve received entries from law students across India on an impressive range of topics. The past two years saw the competition being open to current law students. This year, we will be accepting entries from not only current law students but also those who completed their first law degree in 2019 or later.
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 shamnad.com (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’.
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, as well as to those who have completed their first law degree in 2019 or later.
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, 2022 (23:59 IST). Edit: Now extended to July 24, 2022 (23:59 IST)
Please e-mail all submissions and queries to [email protected] (
Please submit a covering letter stating the law school where you are enrolled as a student, along with your essay. If you are a recent graduate, please mention the law school and year of graduation in the covering letter.
Prizes for Winning Essays
The winning essays will receive the following prizes: (Edit: prizes increased thanks to an anonymous supporter)
First prize: INR
Second prize : INR
Third prize : INR
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. Prof. Shubha Ghosh and Prof. Srividhya Ragavan 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. Please see their brief profiles below:
Prof. Shubha Ghosh
Ragavan’s scholarship emphasizes issues intersecting international trade law with intellectual property rights. Ragavan’s books include Patents and Trade Disparities in Developing Countries (Oxford Univ. Press, 2012); Diversity in Intellectual Property: Identities, Interests, and Intersections (Eds., Calboli, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2019) and Intellectual Property Law and Access to Medicines (Eds., Vanni, Routledge 2021). The book was listed as one of Book Authority’s 12 Best New Intellectual Property Books to read in 2022. The book was also nominated by IPKat for the top ten Best IP Law books for 2021. She has authored numerous law reviews and book chapters on a variety of issues published in top law reviews.
Ragavan has the distinction of her work being cited by US Appellate Judge, Judge Jimmie V. Reyna, United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in Aatrix Software, Inc. v Green Shades Software, Inc., No 17-1452 (Fed-Cir, 2018) and in a different matter being by the Chief Judge of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board, India, 2012 in a leading Indian decision Bayer v. Natco, (M.P.Nos.74 to 76 of 2012 & 108 of 2012 at p. 23).
We eagerly look forward to your submissions!