WIPO Plans to Strengthen IPTTOs in Nigeria’s Tertiary Institutions

Plans are underway by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to strengthen Nigeria’s technology innovation centres with particular reference to the Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Offices (IPTTOs) established by the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) in tertiary institutions and research centres across the country.

This was disclosed by the Project coordinator of the Innovation and Technology Support Section of WIPO, Dr. Ituku Elangi Botoy, when he visited the Director General of NOTAP, Engr. Umar Buba Bindir, in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. Dr.Botoy was in Nigeria for project assessment mission. The meeting that proceeded following his visit to NOTAP was also attended by a representative of the Registrar of the Trademarks Patents and Designs Registry at the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Shafiu Adamu Yauri.

Dr. Botoy who believed that Nigeria had the great potential of leading Africa in science and technology stated that WIPO was keen in supporting technological innovations by assisting member countries in having access to WIPO specialized data base so as to acquire the million of technologies in digitized patents in up to 70,000 fields of technological endeavors.

He noted that WIPO would render support to strengthen existing national capacities through the creation of Technology Innovation Support Centres (TISC), which he described as digital libraries comprising 70,000 specific technologies contained in millions of  patent  doucments.  He added that a TISC is a training centre “We train people to access and retrieve patent information.  A TISC is also a service provider”.

According to him, TISC would be established in the universities not only to promote innovations but also to ensure that learning was linked to practical life and not just learning that was not applicable to real life situations as had been the case in third world countries.

Dr. Botoy explained that the patent system works through the protection mechanism which he described as territorial and limited by time as well as the disclosure mechanism which he described as global and not limited by time adding that WIPO  lays emphasis on both functions.

He commended NOTAP for establishing the IPTTOs to promote technological innovations in the country and pledged WIPO’s preparedness to strengthen them in line with the objectives for the establishment of TISC.

In his response, the Director General of NOTAP, Engr. Bindir commended the WIPO for its determination in strengthening Nigeria’s innovations system through the proposed creation of TISC which he said shared the same objectives with the IPTTOs established by NOTAP.  He added that NOTAP had funded the establishment of 29 IPTTOs and offered technical assistance for establishing a privately funded IPTTO. He furthermore requested the global body to incorporate the IPTTOs in its plan for implementation.

Engr. Bindir stressed the need for WIPO to involve all stakeholders, particularly the Patent Registry, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and NOTAP in its plans for the creation of (TISC) so that its efforts would be sustainable.

“TISC is a fantastic idea but if efforts were not made by WIPO to harness all stakeholders for its establishment, the project would not stand the test of time.  The Patent Registry, NCC and NOTAP have to work in concert for the achievement of the desired result,” he said.

Engr. Bindir stated that with the Vision 20:2020 and the Seven (7) point Agenda of government in place, Nigeria was on the right track to attain technological development and lead the rest of Africa.

According to him, no country had developed without prioritizing science and technology and that Nigeria would not be an exception.  He added that NOTAP had therefore been established to facilitate the transfer of technology and linkages between and among research institutions, industry and financial institutions.

Engr. Bindir noted that with its mandate to implement for government the acquisition, promotion and development of technology, NOTAP was a natural partner to team up with the Patent Registry and NCC in order to work with the WIPO.

Also speaking at the event, the representative of the Registrar of Patent, Mr. Yauri commended Engr. Bindir’s call for the Patent Registry, NCC and NOTAP to work in partnership to promote Nigeria’s innovation system.

He noted that Intellectual Property (IP) issues were too weighty to be left in the hands of a single Federal Government Ministry and advocated the creation of a national IP policy and strategy for proper coordination of IP activities in Nigeria.

Adokiye Dagogo-George

Head Public Relations