Basheer: A Radiant Intellectual Property Law Maestro (1976-2019)
Updated: Jun 17
When it comes to excellence and dominance in the field of Intellectual Property, a name that is bound to emanate is of none other but Shamnad Basheer. Born on May 14, 1976, in Kulathu Puzha, Kollam, to father Adv. Basheer MM and mother late. Seenath Bivi, he was educated at the Laid Law Memorial School and Junior College Ketti and St. Thomas Residential School. He attended and graduated from one of India’s premiere national law school, The National Law School on India University, Bangalore. Thereafter, he went on to join Anand and Anand, a biotique Intellectual Law firm in Delhi and worked on a variety of contentious as well as non-contentious IP matters prior to becoming the head of the firm’s IT and Telecommunication Law Advisory. During his stint, the IFLR 1000 guide rated him as a leading Technology Lawyer.
Thereafter, Basheer went to do his Post-Graduate studies at the University of Oxford and completed the BCL as a shell centenary Scholar and M.Phil with distinction. He further went on to read for D.Phil and he was a Welcome Trust Scholar. He was invited as a Research Fellow at the Institute of Intellectual Property Tokyo and International Bar Association Scholar and an Inter-Pacific Bar Association Scholar.
He had been an editor to the Oxford Commonwealth Journal and a founding member of Electronic Database of Intellectual Property.
In 2007, Shamnad started a blog under the name of SpicyIP which aimed to provide a charismatic, media savvy academic breaking down complex legal issues into simple speaking points. It was during this time that the Indian Patent Law and its implication of public health began to surface and the blog went into every nuance of the law and published pieces in a lucid manner which could be understood not only by the lawyers but also by laymen. This too can be regarded as one of Shamnad’s initiative towards the dissemination of legal information and providing access to such information to all.
In 2010, Basheer founded a Non-Profit Organization named Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA). To Legal Education which strives to empower the not so privileged section of students with access to quality legal education. The organization started from the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata. Basheer was also known for his outstanding contributions to bring changes in the existing Intellectual Property Law regime of India and played an instrumental role in the Novartis Case[i] alongside the Delhi University Photocopy Case[ii] and filed a number of other Public Interest Litigation to further the cause of Intellectual Property in India, the most significant of them being the case which he filed challenging the constitutionality of the IPAB on the ground that it lacked judicial independence from the Central Government.[iii]
Basheer for his outstanding contributions to a wide array of legal issues and legal education, Basheer was awarded the Infosys Prize of 2014 for Humanities. Further, he was also awarded with the Legal Education Innovation Award 2016 by the Society of Indian Law Firms in recognition of the Innovation and Leadership exhibited by him which aided in the promotion an encouragement of legal education among the underprivileged.
Basheer expired on August 8, 2019 at Baba Budangiri Hills in Karnataka. His untimely demise is a big loss to the legal fraternity and shall be always remembered for his humanitarian and visionary work alongside his legal prowess.
[i] Novartis AG vs Union of India (2013) 6 SCC 1.
[ii] University of Oxford vs. Rameshwari Photocopy Services 2016 SCC OnLine Del. 629.
[iii] Shamnad Basheer vs. Union of India 2015 SCC Online Mad. 299.
Atish Chakraborty (B.A., LL.B (H) Semester-IX) &
Debdeep Das (B.A., LL.B (H) Semester-V).