23 July 2012

Nigeria: NOTAP to Link Technology Transfer Offices to Libraries

The National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) has said that it intends to link all Intellectual Property Technology Transfer Offices (IPTTOs) in Nigeria to the public libraries.

This was disclosed by the Director General of NOTAP, Dr Umar Bindir, when the management of the Librarians' Registration Council of Nigeria (LRCN) paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja.

Bindir said: "Libraries must have access to not only the pool of research results but also that of patents, trademarks and designs. We must link the patent offices to the libraries. The pool of trademarks should be in the libraries, the pool of designs should be there to enable people have access to the innovations already on ground, this is not necessarily to copy it but to improve on them if need be."

Dr Bindir said linking IPTTOs to libraries will put an end to the conventional trend in which most research results emanating from Nigerian universities and research institutes end up in shelves as mere academic exercise instead of being developed into prototypes or finished products for commercial purposes.

He added that Nigerian institutions are not generating revenue from their inventions like those in the advanced countries due to poor patent culture, noting, however, that getting the R and D result information to public using the libraries is the way to go.

Earlier on in her remarks, the Registrar/CEO of Librarians' Registration Council of Nigeria (LRCN), Dr Victoria Okojie said it is a step in the right direction to create awareness about research and development (R&D) activities going on in the country using the libraries as a platform.

Okojie said that there are 33 IPTTOs in Nigeria established to ensure proper linkage among research institutes, universities, innovation centres and industries and to encourage demand- driven research. Most institutions in Nigeria have libraries but there is the need to boost their content with additional information about research activities going on in Nigeria.

"We can work with you to disseminate information on R&D output to the public using the libraries," she said.

She noted that it will be easier to connect the IPTTOs to new and existing e-Libraries in Nigeria so that investors who may be interesting in selecting any of the research results for commercialization would be furnished with adequate information.

Dr Okojie bemoaned the realization that most public libraries in Nigeria do not have sufficient information about R &D activities but expressed optimism that the LRCN/NOTAP collaboration would definitely bridge this gap.

ICT according to her is playing key role in modern day librarianship and is seen as a relevant tool for promoting local content online.

She announced an already existing collaboration between LRCN and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to set standards for establishing e-Libraries in Nigeria.

Dr Okojie therefore added that research items that would be accepted for use in the libraries must be properly patented or copyrighted to avoid infringement issues but open source materials will be taken too.

She said the time had come for researchers to begin to reap full benefits from their labour as the libraries would project their work to the wider audience, both locally and internationally.

The partnership with NOTAP, according to her, will deliver jobs to Nigerians.

"Job creation is an integral part of President Goodluck Jonathan's Transformation agenda and we believe that if we open up access to these innovations from Nigeria, investors will come, pick them for commercialization."

A patent is an exclusive right granted by government to the owner of an invention. The invention can be a product or a process that provides new solutions to a technical problem. The exclusive right granted to the owner of a patent is to enable him exclude an unauthorized user from infringing on the patent by making, using, selling or importing the patented invention in the protected territory.

The Librarians Registration Council of Nigeria, a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Education, became operational in 2009 as a regulator of the Library and Information Science sector in Nigeria.

Part of the mandates of the NOTAP include the promotion of locally generated technologies, intellectual property and encouragement of the development of creative and inventive skills among Nigerian scientists, researchers, inventors and Innovators.

The two agencies have agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding to seal this partnership and get down to work.

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