Washington, DC – A visiting delegation from The Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law (RGSOIPL) at the IIT Kharagpur recently signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) for professional collaboration with the Law School of George Washington University (GWU), Washington DC, for exchange of students and faculty. Vinod Gupta, a distinguished alumnus and Life Fellow of IIT Kharagpur attended and pledged $250,000 for the next 5 years for exchange of 8-10 students along with a faculty member between GWU and IIT.
George Washington University was represented by Associate Dean Hank Molinengo, Associate Dean for Intellectual Property Law Studies, John Whealan, Professor Jeffrey Manns and Neil Ruiz, the Executive Director of the Center for Law, Economics and Finance. Also present were the Senior Associate Provost for International Strategy, Doug Shaw and the driving force behind the engagements Susan Karamanian Associate Dean for International and Comparative Legal Studies and Burnett Family Professorial Lecturer in International and Comparative Law and Policy.
Prof Souvik Bhattacharyya Deputy Director, Prof Sidhartha Mukhopadhyay, Dean Alumni Affairs & International Relations and Chinna Boddipalli, MD – Institutional Development (AA&IR) attended on behalf of IIT Kharagpur. Bhattacharyya stressed the desire of IIT Kharagpur to enhance the cooperation with GWU in different fields.
Commenting on the synergy, Dean Karamanian said, “The George Washington University Law School has had the privilege of collaborating with the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, in helping establish the Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law. In a relatively short period the Rajiv Gandhi School has become one of India’s top law school.”
Karamanian thanked Vin Gupta saying, “We are especially grateful to IIT Kharagpur alumnus Vinod Gupta for his support of the GW Law-IIT Kharagpur collaboration. At the meeting in July at GW Law, Vin announced that he would provide additional support for the institutions’ joint relationship, particularly to support student exchanges. His previous support has already allowed for such exchanges and for a variety of other activities, such as lectures by GW Law faculty, members at IIT Kharagpur and scholarships for Rajiv Gandhi Law graduates to attend GW Law’s LL.M. program.”
“Thanks to Vin Gupta, students and faculty from leading institutions in India and the United States will continue to learn more about the other country’s legal systems and cultures. They will also be in the position to develop lasting friendships. These interactions help in the professional development of all of those involved and, no doubt, will lead to better India-US relations,” she added.
The Law School at the IIT Kharagpur was recently ranked among the top 3 Law Schools in India. IIT Kharagpur is the only IIT to have such a School among its several branches of expansion beyond the domain of engineering and technology. The School was ranked on the basis of Students’ Quality, Faculty Quality & Engagement), Process (Teaching Quality and Learning), and Research Output (publications & citations received, and alumni goodwill).
With Intellectual Property and Technology Law Education emerging as an urgent requirement to protect and service the Intellectual Property which is being generated in India and elsewhere in the world, Gupta in 2005 felt that a large number of lawyers would be required in India to protect the intellectual property and he generously donated for setting up the School of Intellectual Property Law in the IIT Kharagpur.
In the words of Vinod, “Many years ago I was talking to the students at IIT Kharagpur. I asked them if they get inquiries from other people outside of India who want them to solve their problems. Some of the students said “Yes all the time. We get requests from people in the US, UK and Germany. They want us to solve some equations or problems. After we solve them, these people go out and patent them. I really got curious and thought wow that’s strange, you do the work and they get the patent. That is when I told Professor Dube, who was the Director at that time that IIT needs a School of Intellectual Property Law so these students can learn intellectual property law and not give away their intellectual property. If IIT students come up with new products and solutions, they should be able to patent them in India and not give those patents away. Stanford University, Howard University and other American Universities do the same. That was the foundation of setting up the Intellectual Property Law School at IIT Kharagpur in India. I told Professor Dube that I would commit to $2 million in setting up this school and he readily agreed. I am grateful that all of the Directors after Professor Dube have been very supportive of this school.”
RGSOIPL started its journey since 2006. Currently, it is the only law school in India functioning under the IIT system. The school is located at the campus of IIT Kharagpur, 120 km from Kolkata. RGSOIPL has the unique feature of imparting ‘traditional’ legal education along with contemporary law courses suited to match the demands of a global economy.
The School presently offers Three Year full time residential LL.B. Program (Honors in Intellectual Property Law), recognized by the Bar Council of India. The school equips the students to inculcate the intricacies of traditional law subjects and thereby capitalize this knowledge to excel in advanced technology law courses including IP subjects. The school has been engineered to embody excellence in techno-legal education.