Patents Law Volume 2 Number 9
(38 Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Offices in Nigeria)
May 2, 2014
What are IPTTOs
In 2006, the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), which is the agency responsible for promotion of innovation and IPR awareness among researchers and inventors in Nigeria, began the establishment of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Offices (IPTTOs) across various Universities, Tertiary Institutions and Research Institutes in Nigeria. The IPTTOs were established to promote interaction and strengthen the linkage between University and Research Institutions and Industries. Some of their main objectives were to facilitate patenting of inventions emanating from the institutions; boost technology, innovations and refocus R&D projects in the Institutions; and to create technology-based SMEs from high-tech start-ups and spin-offs’.
How many IPTTOs are in Nigeria and where are they located?
Taking hints from the experiences of some countries that have developed effective systems that drive their inventions and innovation, the NOTAP has established thirty eight IPTTOs in universities, polytechnics and research institutions in Nigeria. These IPTTOs are geographically situated in various states throughout Nigeria and assist universities/research institutions in developing their IPR portfolio through patenting, copyright and technology licensing.
Are there specific laws regulating the creation and management of IP at publicly-funded research institutions
There are no specific laws on intellectual property creation and management at publicly-funded research institutions. The National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion has published Guidelines on Development of Intellectual Property Policy for Universities and R&D Institutions. These guiding principles highlight how each R&D institution can formulate and implement its intellectual property policy to protect tangible research products such as inventions, industrial designs, Know-How, in order to make them demand-driven and economically viable.
The Guideline also serves as a document which the university/R&D institutions can adopt to formulate their intellectual property policy, create public awareness and promote utilization of intellectual property for the benefit of the society. In addition, the guidelines strengthen research-industry linkages and serve as a framework for the universities/research institutes to package appropriate incentives and reward system to compensate inventors, innovators and researchers.
Are there any success stories?
The establishment of the IPTTOs has helped university/research institutions in Nigeria improve their patenting culture. For example, at the University of Port Harcourt, between August 12, 2010 and January 24, 2012, the office received a total of 22 applications for patent rights. Similarly, at the Nasarawa State University, the IPTTO has helped the university formulate its policies on intellectual property and links with start-up companies.
At the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRID), the office is working to improve the production and efficacy of traditional herbal products and is taking steps toward successful commercialisation of herbal remedies. Throughout the country, NOTAP continues to collaborate with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to organize regional workshops aimed at developing IP policies and technology transfer offices.
This article is intended to provide general information about the subject matter. Professional legal advice should be sought about specific circumstances.