Establishment of IPTTOs

NOTAP has established thirty Intellectual Property Technology Transfer Offices (IPTTOs) in Universities, Polytechnics and Research Institutions in Nigeria, to promote interaction and strengthen the linkage between University/Research Institutions and Industries.  Consequently NOTAP advised that the fifteen institutions should appoint Heads of each IPTTO who should be a person of acclaimed research efforts in innovation creation as well as strong links with industry and the market, in order to ensure successful execution of the mandate of IPTTO. 

The fifteen Heads of IPTTO appointed were brought together in Abuja, by NOTAP for training in a National Workshop on Developing Intellectual Property Policies and Establishment of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Offices in Tertiary and Research Institutions, held on Monday - Wednesday, November 6-8, 2006, at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, in collaboration with WIPO Geneva. Furthermore, the Heads of IPTTO undertook a Study Tour to the United Kingdom early in February 2007, to see firsthand, how such IPTTO at the Universities of Sussex, Oxford and Cambridge are been operated and organised. The study tour was to enhance their performance in the execution of the project.

The Universities have also appionted competent coordinators to head each IPTTO. Consequently, they were trained both locally and abroad by NOTAP in collaboration with WIPO as similar establishements in United Kingdom in order to ensure successfully execution of the mandates of the IPTTOs.

The IPTTO is designed to develop a robust intellectual Property Rights portfolio through patenting, copyright, technology licensing; to support the Institution's initiative in developing patent culture. The IPTTO also sets into motion the formal system of incentives and reward that encourages individual researcher to be involve in partnerships.

The IPTTO will facilitiate the utilization of Intellectual Property system in Tertiary Institutions; it will enable the Universities / R&D institutions to use IP system as a source of technology information and a source of generating wealth and income. Both functions of the IP system go hand in hand with the organising the management of IPRs. Universities/R&D institutions should focus on both functions even though they are two separate activities, since patent doucments mainly consists of searches and documentation on technical matters while the exploitation fo the institution's IPR portfolio requires quite an amount of legal work and considerable commercial activity. The commercial aspect of IPR management, i.e. the licensing operations and the acquisition of R&D contracts, consultancy agrement and joint venture contracts, may even raise special problems since Universities/R&D institutions, unlike enterprises, do not ususally have a sales or marketing department that could assist them in handling the exploitation of IPRs. Therefore, Universities/R&D institutions may consider that all or some of their IPRs management services and issues may be handled by the IPTTO in collaboration with Technology Transfer agencies like NOTAP, or other license brokers or relevant government agencies. In this regard, factors to be considered include, the nature of the Universities/R&D institutions, the volume of the activities to the handled and the avaliability of external services. 

Therefore in institutions where patent documents are predominantly used as a source of information, search activities may be contracted out through PCT in WIPO to credible search organizations; unless the Universities/R&D institutions already run a large IPRs documentation center.  Also the duty of identifying and resolving conflicting patent applications can be left to external services provided by patent agents or patent attorneys.

Where a University/R&D institution has a sufficiently large volume of IP activities and technology transfer contracts (e.g. a rate of 10 internationally protected IPs per year), it is necessary to manage and exploit all the IP activities through the IPTTO which will undertake the selection of IPs and evaluation of their technological and commercial potentials