The National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) has concluded strategic plans to reward active Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Offices (IPTTOs) across the country through ranking.
Speaking at a one-day forum for IPTTO coordinators held in Bauchi State, the director-general of NOTAP, Dr. DanAzumi Ibrahim said that NOTAP was established to regulate the inflow of foreign technology into the country through the registration of technology transfer agreements.
He noted that the office also has the responsibility of promoting the development and utilisation of indigenous technologies and in line with the local content development act, as well as the implementation of Executive Order No.5, the office is not allowed to register any technology transfer agreement to which Nigerians have the requisite knowledge and capacity to undertake.
Ibrahim stated that in carrying out the statutory responsibilities of the office, it was realised that intellectual property (IP) culture was low in Nigeria’s knowledge institution and for a country that is desirous of joining the league of technologically independent nations, there was a need to sensitise Nigerians, especially researchers in the knowledge institutions to inculcate the culture of intellectual property for sustainable economic development.
The DG further stated that to encourage IP culture and develop a robust knowledge-based mechanism that will fast-track market-driven research and commercialisation of research and development (R&D) result, NOTAP in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in 2006 commenced the establishment of IPTTOs in some knowledge institutions within the country to guide and refocus research undertaking from research for publications and career progression to problem-solving research.
He said that since the introduction of IPTTOs in our knowledge establishments, patents which are the first step to commercialisation have started emanating from such establishments. He added that over the years, NOTAP as a way of encouraging patenting of R&D results, assists Nigerian researchers in writing patent claims, filling out applications as well as paying for the patent fees and only calling the beneficiary for collection of patent certificates. This intervention according to him has resulted in securing over 400 patent certificates for researchers.
Ibrahim stated that the IPTTO coordinators forum became very imperative when the office noticed that out of 64 IPTTO centres already established and commissioned, some are performing excellently well, while some are not, hence the need to interact with them to ascertain what their challenges are and also hear from those performing coordinators to possibly provide solutions and advice where applicable.
He, however, commended the coordinators as well as the institution managements of the performing IPTTOs and encouraged non-performing ones to learn from the experiences of others and also feel free to contact NOTAP where necessary for advice and assistance.
The NOTAP boss revealed that the office had concluded plans and strategies to reward highly performing IPTTO centres in other to spur non-performing ones into action.
In her paper presentation titled “Brief on IPTTO Ranking,” the director, technology acquisition and research coordination (TARC) department, NOTAP, Mrs. Caroline Anie-Osuagwu said that it had become pertinent to give incentives to the institutions where IPTTOs have been supported and nurtured to the point of reckoning. She added that for any centre to be considered for an award, it must fulfil some criteria like evidence of establishment of IP policy, the centre must be visible or known within the institution, a documented evidence of R&D results collections within the institution, a number of patent application submitted as well as number granted, the existence of IP committee within the institution to review and evaluate IP activities, frequency of IP intervention workshops, the manning level of the IPTTO centre and many more.
She stated that all established IPTTOs must be ranked irrespective of when they were established but noted that the ranking criteria for the newly established centres may not be the same as the old ones, due to their peculiarity.
A statement by the agency’s assistant chief information officer, Raymond Ogbu, said Anie-Osuagwu congratulated the Federal University of Technology (FUT) Minna for its breakthrough in licensing one of its inventions to the Kaduna State government for a mouth-watering sum of money and encouraged others to emulate FUT as the slogan in knowledge institutions was changing from “publish or perish to patent, publish and prosper”.