WIPO delegation, 2021 IP Competitors visit NOTAP headquarters

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As part of the concluding session of the 2021 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) National Essay competition for students of tertiary institutions in Nigeria, a delegation of WIPO and Intellectual Property (IP) competitors paid a courtesy/learning visit to the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) corporate headquarters, Abuja.

In his opening remarks, the leader of the delegation and head of WIPO-Nigeria Office (WNO), Mr Moody Oluwatobiloba said that they were in NOTAP to appreciate the Director-General, Dr DanAzumi Mohammed Ibrahim for making himself available to act as one of the judges/panelists at the just concluded National IP Essay competition as well as his numerous supports to WIPO.

He said that NOTAP was critical to the development of IP ecosystem in Nigeria hence their visit to also hear more about the functions and activities of the Office in creating IP awareness within the Nigerian knowledge institutions.

Mr Moody said that the maiden edition of the WIPO National IP Essay Competition was launched on April 26, 2020, by the WIPO Nigeria Office (WNO) as part of efforts to support student engagement and research in the field of intellectual property in Nigeria.

He added that building on the success of the maiden edition, the Second Edition of the competition was launched by the WNO on April 19, 2021, as part of WNO’s activities in celebration of the World IP Day 2021 with the theme “IP and SMEs, Taking your ideas to market”.

He stated that the essay competition invited students of tertiary institutions across Nigeria to submit essays not exceeding 1500 words on the topic “Intellectual Property, SMEs, and Economic Recovery in Nigeria”.

He noted that the competition at the expiration of the entry deadline had a total of 143 entries.  He further stated that the objective of the competition was to provide an opportunity for students to research and learn more about the field of IP, as well as contribute to policy development in this area by exploring suggestions or ideas that could help stimulate Nigeria’s economic recovery through SMEs.

Earlier in his address, the Director-General of NOTAP thanked WIPO for the visit and for creating IP cautiousness amongst Nigerian students through the National IP Essay competition, adding that the competition has increased IP awareness as well as stimulated research/interest in creative writing.

He said that technology is a product of research while research results are intellectual assets that if well managed, can change the economic fortunes of the researcher.

He called on the winners of the IP competition especially those with a science background to consider taking up further studies in law to become IP attorneys which according to him, is scarce in the country.

The DG stated that NOTAP was established to regulate the inflow of foreign technologies into the country through the registration of technology transfer agreements but also has the duty of promoting the development of indigenous technologies.

He further stated that as a technology regulator, the Office sees the number of foreign technologies deployed to power the Nigerian economy with the attendant huge foreign exchange occasioned by inadequate homegrown technologies.

He added that most of the technology transfer agreements registered in NOTAP are on software therefore Nigerian researchers should give more attention to software development.

Dr Ibrahim noted that the Office had been strategic in ensuring technology transfer by insisting that agreement registered in NOTAP must have the component of human capital development which is needed for replication and domestication of foreign technologies.

He further reiterated that the IP culture of Nigerians must be strengthened through sustained advocacy and similar competitions and seminars to stimulate economic sustainability.

He said that the Office will continue to partner with WIPO to ensure adequate publicity of the next edition of the competition to ensure that all the regions of the country are adequately represented.