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Shamnad Basheer - Life & Accolades

As Shamnad Basheer bids adieu to the world, here are some of the greatest achievements and a reflection on his life.

Renowned legal expert Shamnad Basheer passed away on Thursday 8 August 2019. He was an Indian legal scholar and founder of the blog SpicyIP. He was also the founder of IDIA, a trust which works on making legal education accessible for underprivileged students. Let us have a look at some of the notable things in his life.

Basheer was the founder and managing trustee of Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access or IDIA, a body which aims at bringing legal awareness to the underprivileged. He also set up one of the most popular intellectual property blogs in the country, SpicyIP.

With countless feathers in his cap, Basheer in 2012, was the Minister of Human Resources and Development’s chair professor for intellectual property. He led a first-of-its-kind academic intervention in the landmark Novartis-Gleevec patent hearing at the Supreme Court.


Shamnad came into the limelight when he argued the case of the Swiss drugmaker Novartis, who had approached the Supreme Court after having been turned down a patent for the cancer medicine Gleevec which is sold by generic drug makers in India at a very low price, legally India had reported then. Novartis was attempting to sell it at a distinct twentyfold markup. Basheer, as academic intervenor-amicus, had argued before a two-judge bench on the case which resulted in the apex court not allowing Novartis its patent in India.

Basheer graduated from the National Law School of India University at Bengaluru and then went on to continue his education at Oxford University, where he completed his DPhil.

He also explored the field of writing and for The Wire, Basheer wrote on the complicated connections between the Aadhaar and the compromise of basic human privacy.

Shamnad Basheer is the only Indian to have been appointed to the intellectual property global advisory council of the World Economic Forum. In 2014, he was awarded the Infosys Science Foundation Prize for his contribution to the field of research in humanities. Some of his most famous achievements are as follows:

  • Infosys Science Foundation Award, 2014

  • In 2016, Society of Indian Law Firms awarded Shamnad Basheer with Legal Education Innovation Award 2016 in recognition of innovation and leadership in the development of Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) and promoting legal careers among the under-privileged

  • 2007: Awarded the first place in a writing contest held by ATRIP for an article dealing with the Novartis-Gleevec patent case in India

  • 2004: Awarded the second prize in a writing contest held by the Stanford Technology Law Review for an article on biotechnology and patent law in India

  • 2004: Awarded the MS Lin Scholarship to attend the Inter Pacific Bar Association (IPBA) conference in Seoul

  • 2003: Awarded the Wellcome Trust studentship prize and the Clarendon Scholarship for the Mphil/Dphil at Oxford

  • 2003: Awarded a distinction on the BCL at Oxford

  • 2003: Awarded the IBA (International Bar Association) scholarship

  • 2002: Awarded the Shell Centenary-British Chevening Scholarship for the BCL at Oxford.

  • 2002: Rated as one of the leading technology lawyers in India by the IFLR 1000 guide (a Euromoney publication) in 2002

  • 2001: Awarded the second best prize by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) for an article on "Internet and Intellectual Property Rights”


Our prayers are with the family members of the respected Shamnad Basheer and may his soul rest in peace.


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Published on 13-Sep-19