The National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) has urged both public and private establishments to invest more in critical research and development (R&D) to sustain the economic development of the country.
Speaking at the commissioning of the 64th Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Office (IPTTO) at the Federal Polytechnic Oko, Anambra, the director-general of NOTAP, Dr. DanAzumi Ibrahim, who was represented by the director of technology transfer and registration (TTR) department, Dr. Ephraim Okejiri said that the establishment of IPTTOs in Nigerian knowledge institutions was to encourage demand and market-driven research and inculcate the culture of intellectual property (IP) protection in the nation’s knowledge establishments.
He said that the programme was initiated by the office in synergy with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to encourage IP and expose Nigerian researchers to the financial benefits accruable from research that directly impacts the industry and society at large.
Ibrahim stated that while knowledge institutions in developed countries are flooding African countries with goods and services from their research undertakings, Nigerian institutions wait to survive from government budgetary allocations. He added that the difference between developed and developing countries is technology, hence the need for more funding for research, to ensure that they come up with commercialisable results.
Ibrahim emphasized the shift to knowledge-based economies as the new global index for measuring nations’ development. This, he said, made it important to encourage IP development in Nigeria.
Although he conceded that a lot of research work goes on in Nigerian knowledge institutions, he said there was a need for proper coordination with the deployment of IPTTOs, to ensure the economic development of the country.
He said the agency encourages patenting in Nigeria by assisting inventors to write claims, file for a patent and pay for patenting fees. The researcher is only called to collect the patent certificate.
“Through NOTAP’s intervention in IP development, over 400 patent certificates have been secured with more awaiting approval.
He urged researchers to contact NOTAP for assistance in patenting their inventions and innovations.
In her welcome address, the rector of the Federal Polytechnic Oko, Dr. Francisca Nwafulugo, who was represented by the deputy rector (academics), Dr. Uche Onyegbu said that the school was renowned for research and that the establishment of IPTTO in the institution will help consolidate its research undertakings, especially as it affects shifting emphasis from researching for career progression to doing so to solve problems.
Nwafulugo reasoned that intellectual property (creative properties or creations of the mind such as designs and symbols, inventions, music, books, literary and artistic works etc) is prone to theft, except when protected by law. “It is, therefore, encouraging that the law has made provisions that guarantee the protection of our IP adventure,” she said.
The rector called intellectual property a “natural endowment and a great asset which, when harnessed, will help project both researchers and the country into economic prosperity”.
She assured that, under her watch as a rector of the institution, she will ensure the accomplishment of the aims for which the IPTTO was established.
Nwafulugo urged the staff and students of the institution to take the IP training delivered by NOTAP seriously to help refocus its research undertakings.
Five technical papers were delivered, with the most notable being ‘Framework for Management of Intellectual Property in Tertiary Institutions’, delivered by the director of technology acquisition and research coordination, Mrs. Caroline Anie-Osuagwu.
Anie-Osuagwu urged researchers to undertake research that has industrial usefulness and, as such, huge potential for commercialisation.