Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is Patent Information and Documentation Centre (PIDC)?
The PIDC is a network of information that links the National Office with other Patent Information Centres in the world. It is an avenue through which information on industrial property are sought globally. The PIDC enables NOTAP to have access to technology information contained in patent documents and these are made available to interested users such as researchers, patent attorneys, private investors, entrepreneurs, etc.

Q2: What is Intellectual Property Right?


Intellectual Property Right (IPR) refers to property rights on the creations of the mind. IPR is generally divided into two main categories - Industrial Property and Copyright.

  • Industrial property refers to patents, trade marks, trade names, geographical indications (indications of source or appellations of origin), utility models, industrial designs, and the repression of unfair competition;
  • Copyright on the other hand includes literary and artistic works, musical works, novels, poems and plays, films, and drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, computer softwares, databases, and architectural designs;
  • Related rights (also referred to as “neighbouring rights” ) include the rights of performing artists in their performances, producers of sound recordings in their recordings, and those of broadcasters in their radio and television broadcasts;
  • Additionally, plant varieties are protected in many countries under the IP-related system of Plant Breeder’s Rights (PBR).

The notion, ‘Intellectual Property’ is defined in the Convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), 1967 to include rights relating to:

  • Literary, artistic and scientific works;
  • Performances of performing artistes, sound recordings, and broadcasts.
  • Inventions in all fields of human endeavor;
  • Industrial designs;
  • Inventions
  • Trademarks, service marks, commercial names and designations;
  • Protection against unfair competition; and,
  • All other rights resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary or artistic fields.

Q3: What is Technology Licence Agreement?

A Technology License Agreement is an agreement between two consenting parties in which the licensor, who is usually the owner of an intellectual property asset such as, trademark, patent, know-how, software, etc, grants the permission to exploit the IP asset to the other party called the licensee for a fee over a definite period of time.  The fee paid could be once and for all payment or a percentage of the profits and/or sales of the enterprise’s products.

Q4: What is commercialization of R&D Results?


Commercialization of R&D Results means the utilization of  viable scientific research and development results/findings, inventions etc, emanating from both public or private research institutions, solely for the setting up of industrial pilot plants and commercially viable plants for the production of goods and services for the benefit of mankind.  In other words, commercialization involves the process of development, production and marketing of novel technological ideas (services), processes or products.  It is usually the last stage of the innovation chain.  The entire innovation commercialization process entails the following steps:

    * Scientific investigations
    * Establishment of pilot plants for demonstration of production processes
    * Production of new products or prototypes
    * Conducting market acceptability tests,
    * Preparation of feasibility reports, and
    * Marketing of the project to potential investors.

Q5: How does NOTAP assist in the commercialization of inventions?

Ans.   NOTAP as a National Agency plays an important role in the
           commercialization programme of the country by acting as a facilitator, and
          manager of the interface between research institutions and industry.  The
          major thrusts of  NOTAP’s intervention are as follows:

          o Management of compendium of Research Results and Inventions: NOTAP is in contact with all the Federal and States Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Technology, Research Institutes and Private Laboratories to collate research results and invention.  These R&D results and inventions are compiled in the Compendium of Indigenous Research Results and Inventions which is updated regularly.  The compendium provides a detailed information databank concerning the various inventions on sectoral basis, the research institutions, researchers and their fields of expertise including the stage of development.

          o Data Collection and Compilation: The National Office developed guidelines for the collection and collation of R&D results and inventions.  Questionnaire were developed for the collection of R&D results and inventions in the research institutions.  The questionnaire are distributed to researchers and inventors with the assistance of scouts at various research institutions.  The completed questionnaires are initially received by a Desk Officer and later compiled into the compendium of research results.

          o Analysis and Selection of Commercialization Projects: The completed questionnaire of R&D results and inventions are reviewed after which the information are entered into the database.  The National Office further established standards for screening the R&D results ensuring that the most viable projects are promoted and commercialized.  The R&D results and inventions are subjected to careful evaluation and assessment to determine their economic viability before they are transformed into marketable products.  The analysis is critical because it is the basis for determining viable projects for commercialization.  It involves critical analysis of the economic values of a product including its environmental impact assessment, if any.

Q6: Does NOTAP Fund Commercialization of Projects?

Ans.    NOTAP as an Agency does not fund projects per se.  However, since the Office is committed to ensuring the growth of the national economy through the acquisition, development and promotion of technologies, NOTAP usually carries out viability analyses on the Research results received and those that are adjudged commercially viable are funded until commercialization of the venture is completed.  Due to the capital intensive nature of commercialization, the sponsor of the project must make a percentage contribution, and where possible in concert with other financiers.

Q7: What is a Patent?

Ans:    A Patent is a certificate granting exclusive rights to the owner of invention for the use or exploitation of his/her work.  To be patentable the invention must satisfy basic requirements. These are:

          oNovelty, i.e. the invention must be new and are not known in the body of existing knowledge.  This body of existing knowledge is called the “prior art”;
          o Inventiveness i.e. it must show an inventive step and be non-obvious to an ordinary person skilled in the field of knowledge;  and,
          o Industrial applicability i.e. it must be capable of industrial application (usefulness).

Q8: Is NOTAP a patent office?

Ans: No.  NOTAP is NOT a Patent office.  However, NOTAP can assist by acting as an Agent in facilitating the filing and grant of patent application.  In other words, NOTAP facilitates patenting by evaluating technology in patent applications and forwarding same to the Patent Registry.  At the moment, the Registrar, Patents, Trademark and Industrial Designs Office is statutorily responsible for the grant of patent in Nigeria.

Q9: How does NOTAP disseminate technology information?

Ans:   NOTAP disseminates technology information through the PIDC which is a collection of granted patents world-wide stored in CD-ROMs.  Technology information is also disseminated through workshops/seminars.  In addition, the Office provides technology information through awareness building programmes targeted at teritiary institutions and neighbouring communities.
The Office is also engaged in the publication of Industrial Project Profiles (IPP) on sectoral basis for the establishment of cottage and small scale enterprises.

Q10: How do I Access information on indigenous research results?

Ans:   Information on indigenous research results can be obtained from NOTAP’s publications including the Industrial Project Profiles. The information can also be obtained from the Compendium of Research Results and Inventions stored in the database in the office.  You can obtain this information by clicking on the appropriate section on the office website. Furthermore, you may get in contact with the Head Office.

Q11: Can NOTAP help me in patenting my invention?

Ans:    Yes. NOTAP will assist in filling your patent application free of charge. But you have to complete the relevant forms which are available at the Office and supply the required information about the invention.

Q12: How does NOTAP provide technology information to SMEs, Researchers, inventors, etc?

Ans: NOTAP provides technology information to SMEs through its numerous publications namely - project profiles issues 1-13 containing about 60 SME projects. NOTAP also with the assistance of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has developed a comprehensive depository of technology information in patent documents available globally in its Patent Information and Documentation Centre (PIDC). The centre has well over one million technology information in patent documents store in CD-ROMs for public enlightenment and access.

Q13: How can a cottage industry benefit from the services of NOTAP?

Ans:   A cottage industry can benefit from the services of NOTAP in several ways.  For instance, through the Industrial Project Profiles (IPP), a publication targeted at the cottage industry and other small scale enterprises. In addition, NOTAP through its monitoring and extension services provides technology advisory services (TAS) to the small, medium and large scale enterprises. The patent Information and Documentation Centre (PIDC) and NOTAP’s Workshops/Seminars are also avenues that could be exploited by cottage industries for valuable technical information.

Q14: How Can I Participate In NOTAP's Workshops/Seminars?

Ans:   NOTAP’S Workshop/Seminars are held periodically at least once in a year.  You have to be on the look out in the newspapers or check the office website for future events

How Can I Purchase Industrial Project Profiles (IPP) By NOTAP?

Ans.  NOTAP publications can be purchased from the Head office at 1, Blantyre Street, off Adetokunbo-Ademola, Wuse 2, Abuja.

Also, the office publications are always on display for sales at major Technology Exhibitions and Techno-Expo and at the venue of Workshops/Seminars organized by NOTAP.

Q16: I Have an Idea and I believe it can be commercialized. what do i do to actualize my idea?
Ans.    Approach NOTAP for further guidance
What Types of Technology Agreements are Registrable with NOTAP?

Ans:    NOTAP is involved in the registration of all contracts or agreements having effect in Nigeria for the transfer of foreign technology to Nigerian parties.  Every such contract or agreement shall be so registrable if its purpose or intent is in the opinion of the National Office, wholly or partially, for or in connection with any of the following purposes, that is to say:
the use of trademarks;

    * the right to use patented inventions;
    * the supply of technical expertise in the form of the preparation of plans, diagrams, operating manuals or any other form of technical assistance of any description whatsoever,
    * the supply of basic or detailed engineering,
    * the supply of machinery and plant, and
    * the provision of operating staff or managerial assistance and the training of personnel.


Ans:     The rights granted under a License Agreement are the rights to use, make, manufacture and sell products under the rights granted by the Licensor in a given territory.  The rights granted by the Licensor to the Licensee in this case can be sole, exclusive and non-exclusive.


Ans: A non-exclusive license is a License issued to a Licensee where the Licensor retains the right to exploit the invention or to issue licenses to other licensees.  A License granted under the Patent Act in presumed to be non-exclusive unless a contrary term is contained in the contract.

Sole License:   A sole License is a right granted to a single Licensee in a defined territory and the licensor retains the right to use the licensed invention but cannot grant further license to any other person in the same territory.

Exclusive License: is a License issued to a single Licensee in a defined territory and the Licensor is bound not to issue other licenses or to use the invention himself in that territory.


Ans:   The following are the payment options under License Agreement:

    * Lumpsum fee
    * Percentage of net sales
    * Percentage of profit before tax
    * Combination of lumpsum fee and a percentage of net sales
    * Combination of a percentage of net sales and a percentage of net profit before fax, for technical Management Agreement.
    * Percentage of total project cost for Consultancy Agreement
    * Per diem or per month rates for personnel on secondment in respect  of Technical Service Agreement on short duration.
    * License, Maintenance and Annual Technical Support fees, for Software License Agreement, if necessary.