Interview with Late Professor (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer
Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer, who recently passed away in an unfortunate accident, was one of the most influential IP personalities of our generation. His contributions to intellectual property rights resonated beyond his home country – India. He was also the founder of multiple humanitarian projects like IDIA (Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access) and P-PIL. After completing his law degree from the National Law School of India University, Prof. Basheer went on to complete his master’s and a doctorate in law from the University of Oxford. Thereafter, he taught at many internationally renowned universities, including George Washington University and the University of Pennsylvania in the US. He also holds the distinction of becoming one of the youngest professors in India, when he went on to become the Chair Professor of Intellectual Property Rights at the WB National University of Juridical Sciences in Kolkata. Despite his stellar academic achievements, Prof. Basheer’s interests went much beyond academia. In fact, towards the latter part of his life, he devoted a substantial amount of his time towards fostering a transparent environment within India's IP rights ecosystem, as well as creating a democratized, dynamic, and equal society for all. Through the IDIA project, which he established in 2010, he embarked on a mission to ensure that the best law schools across India are accessible to students from the most marginalized sections of the society. The end-goal of the project is to help create an equal society, where diversity of opinions and identities is not just respected but encouraged. Keeping in line with the values he stood for, he founded the blog "SpicyIP" in 2005 to democratize the discussions surrounding intellectual property rights in India. This blog has been one of the most popular IP rights websites not only in India but also worldwide. Last December, we had the honor of hosting Prof. Basheer, when he visited Iran as a visiting instructor at a workshop hosted by the Iranian Ministry of Justice, and partially sponsored by Kanoon IP. In a friendly and wide-ranging interview, we talked to him about his work and what motivates him to continue fighting the good fight.