The director-general of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr. DanAzumi Ibrahim has said weak intellectual property (IP) culture among researchers and institutions is one of the things responsible for Nigeria’s poor technological development.
He stated this at the commissioning of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Office (IPTTO) in the Ebonyi State University Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, where he made a strong case for the development of a comprehensive Intellectual Property policy to avoid confusion and problems that arise from IP ownership among researchers and institutions.
The NOTAP boss stressed that IPTTOs would strengthen the operations of researchers and institutions especially with regards to ownership of IP for research breakthroughs.
He noted that a well scripted and comprehensive intellectual property and technology policy was necessary to guide the universities to clearly spell out the ownership of intellectual property.
Ibrahim said NOTAP in carrying out registration of technology transfer agreements which is one of its major mandates, realised there was a very weak intellectual property culture in Nigeria especially in knowledge institutions.
Saying the situation has resulted in poor development of technology in the county, he, however, contended that the establishment of IPTTOs in K. knowledge institutions would trigger innovative activities in the country.
He said over 90 per cent of technology that powers Nigerian economies are foreign and for a country that is striving to be among the 20 strongest economies in the world, the knowledge institutions should be more innovative to turn out research and development results that can solve industrial needs.
He said for a country to develop technologically, the knowledge institutions must be abreast of the global technology needs, adding there should be a strong and strategic linkage between the Industry and the academia for this to happen.
Ibrahim reiterated that technologies are outputs of inventive and innovative activities, pointing out that research is the primary functions of the knowledge institutions.
But he added that while the multinationals operating in the country depend on their mother companies for research works, Nigerian knowledge institutions carry out research for career progression and not to solve problems of the industry.
He said IPPTO was exposing the researchers to engage in research that would solve human needs and not just for academic and career progression, adding in developed countries, there is strong linkage between the academia and industry as industry depends largely on the knowledge institution to solve their problems.
Ibrahim, represented by the director consultancy services department, Mr Adamu Tandama, said Nigeria with the largest knowledge infrastructure in the West African sub-region with over 156 universities, over 126 polytechnics, 98 colleges of education and more than 300 research institutions was yet to give the world a global product.
He therefore challenged the university to properly utilize the IPTTO to ensure that patents that would come out of the inventions would metamorphose into commercialisable products and services.
He emphasised that if IPTTOs are properly utilized, Nigerian universities would no longer depend on government’s budgetary allocations but would begin to enjoy royalties from licensing of their intellectual property.
Earlier in his welcome address, the vice chancellor of the university, Prof. Chigozie Ogbu, who was visibly happy with the commissioning of the IPTTO, said he was very thankful to God for making it possible for the IPTTO to be established in the university.
He said the commissioning of the IPTTO in Ebonyi State University would bring a lot of positive changes in the university and urged the IPTTO coordinator to ensure an all-inclusive programme, adding a lot of research activities are going on in the university but needed a very coordinated approach.
NOTAP’s public relations and protocol unit officer, Mr Raymond Onyenezi Ogbu, said the VC was confident that researchers as well as the university community would start enjoying the benefits of research as the IPTTO would redirect the research activities in the institution.
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