The Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law (RGSOIPL), IIT Kharagpur, hosted students from George Washington University Law School this Spring semester. The only Law school in the IIT system, seed funded by IIT Kharagpur alumnus Vinod Gupta, is now regarded as India’s top destination for legal education and research which has also established collaborative and exchange programmes with the much reputed GW Law School despite the fact that it only a decade old. The School which primarily specializes in Intellectual Property Law has also expanded to other areas of legal education such as Corporate Laws, Taxation, Criminal Laws, International Law, Constitutional Law and Competition Law.
“With the government’s mandate of bringing in foreign students and promoting internationalization of IITs, such international semester programmes pave the way for institutions and the global community in promoting India-bound student traffic as well as exposure of Indian students abroad while studying in India. IITKGP has been a trendsetter in various disciplines introduced in the IIT system and I am proud of the fact that, it is setting a new trend by bringing foreign students for legal education in India as against old time sake when Indian legal scholars used to go abroad to become law practitioners and professionals” said Prof. Khushal Vibhute, Dean, RGSOIPL.
Faculty members at GW Law School have provided guest lectures at RGSOIPL and each school has sent two groups of students to the other school for a week visit. For the students from GW Law School, the week allowed them to attend classes at RGSOIPL and interact with their Indian counterparts at the IIT Kharagpur campus. At the week’s start, Professor Martin Adelman, Dr. Susan Karamanian, Associate Dean for International and Comparative Legal Studies at George Washington University Law School and Pillsbury partner Raj Dave alumnus of IIT Kharagpur and GW Law School joined the students and participated in a patent law forum at RGSOIPL’s Benjamin Gupta Auditorium, which is named after former GW Law student Ben Gupta. According to Associate Dean Karamanian, “the GW Law community has had the privilege of working with one of the world’s top universities in helping establish a top-flight law school. Our students and faculty are indebted to Mr. Gupta, Mr. Raj Dave, and the faculty, staff and administration of the IIT KGP for their steadfast support of the GW Law-RGSOIPL relationship.”
Another group of students from RGSOIPL is scheduled to visit GW Law School during April 2017 to attend classes and meet their GW Law counterparts as well. Gupta has continued his support towards student and faculty exchanges. With e-commerce and licensing going beyond national boundaries such a transnational legal education especially in intellectual property law becomes imperative. For Vinod Gupta, the visits are expected to lead to life-long friendships between students from India and the United States and a shared understanding of each other’s respective cultures.
Nathan, an economics major from the University of Cincinnati who is interested in IP and technology and who serves as Notes Editor of the American Intellectual Property Law Association Quarterly Journal, appreciated learning “about how IP law is taught in India, and the context in which the professors and students focus on the material and how it is presented.” In his mind, “the most valuable part of the trip was building relationships with the IIT Kharagpur law students. They value legal education like I do but the most rewarding part of the trip was getting to connect on a personal level with the students and build significant friendships.”
Siddhi, who holds a B.S.E. in Computer Engineering, B.S. in Computer Science and M.S. in Computer Science, all from Arizona State University, said that she and her GW Law classmates “enjoyed our time with the students at IIT. Also, the professors there helped us to understand and compare Indian copyright and patent laws with US laws.”