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World IP Day: Nnaji Harps On Importance Of Intellectual Property Rights

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The Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Chief Uche Nnaji.
The Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Chief Uche Nnaji.

The Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Chief Uche Nnaji has highlighted the importance of intellectual property rights (IPR).

Nnaji, who was speaking during the commemoration of World Intellectual Property (IP) Day, celebrated globally to honour creativity, innovation and ingenuity to accelerate development, emphasised the importance of inventions and innovations that are products of critical research.

He stated that it is crucial to celebrate our inventors, innovators, artists and creators who have significantly contributed to the socio-economic development of our country.

The minister highlighted that intellectual property rights are pivotal in an evolving economy, fostering innovation, driving economic growth, and enriching our cultural development. He added that advanced countries have made significant breakthroughs in inventive and innovative activities. Thus, for developing countries, especially Nigeria, to be recognised as a major player in the IPR ecosystem, we need to build a culture of innovation.

To ensure the rapid development of an indigenous IP system and to spur the innovative spirit of Nigerian researchers, the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), an agency under the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, established the intellectual property and technology transfer offices (IPTTOs) in some knowledge establishments across the country.

The minister reiterated that as a ministry, they are committed to strengthening our intellectual property system, making it easier for innovators to protect their works. He added that through NOTAP, Nigerian inventors and innovators have been assisted in patenting their inventions for free.

The acting director-general of NOTAP, Dr. Idoreyin Imiyoho emphasised the importance of Intellectual property awareness in knowledge transfer and harnessing Nigeria’s potentials within our knowledge institutions. She said that intellectual property means “the property of the human intellect. IP can be any innovation, commercial, artistic, symbol, logo or design used for commercial purposes”. According to her, it can also be the creation of the mind, literary and artistic works belonging to a creator that can only be transferred or sold with the permission of the innovator.

She said that NOTAP was established to regulate the inflow of foreign technology into the country but also has the responsibility of encouraging the development of indigenous technologies. She reiterated that as a regulatory agency, NOTAP noted the weak Intellectual Property culture in the country. To build a strong IP culture for sustainable economic development, in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization, NOTAP has established intellectual property and technology transfer offices (IPTTOs) in some select knowledge institutions across the country.

Imiyoho stated that the establishment of IPTTOs has triggered healthy competition amongst the knowledge institutions to the point that critical and market-driven research which has led to patents was undertaken.

She said that the World Intellectual Property Organisation is the global body for intellectual property policy, services, information and cooperation. A special agency of the United Nations, assisting its 193 member states in developing a balanced intellectual property legal framework to meet societal evolving needs.

In 2000, the World Intellectual Property Organisation member states designated April 26th of every year as World Intellectual Property Day, to increase general understanding and awareness of intellectual property and its importance to national development.

In a statement by the agency’s assistant chief information officer, Raymond Ogbu, the acting DG assured WIPO of NOTAP’s unwavering support and commitment to ensuring that the culture of intellectual property is inculcated not only in Nigerian knowledge institutions but also in the artisans who have over the years demonstrated the ability to fast-track STI development in Nigeria.

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