The Chief Registrar, Trademarks, Patents and Designs, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments, Mr. William Amuka, has stated that the world looks unto Nigeria with its teaming population to provide a robust patent and design system which has become a major foreign exchange earner but regretted that the country has not been able to live up to this challenge.
According to him, revenue from intellectual property can successfully fund several research and innovations in our higher institutions and can be harvested through Technology and Innovation Support Centers (TISC).
Mr. Amuka stated this in Abuja in his opening address during the three days stakeholders workshop organized by the Trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in collaboration with World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on the effectiveness of National Network Centers on Technology and Innovation Support Centers (TISCs).
He said: “Nigeria, with a population of over 180 million people and over 200 universities and research institutions, is being looked up to by the global patent community for a robust patent system. With less than 100 filling per annum, Nigeria is being portrayed as a country where innovation and creative activity is not on the scale that matches its population and number of institutions of higher learning.”
The Chief Registrar said that the objective of the workshop is to enable stakeholders gain necessary skills to access the various database around the world and to be able to use patent information as well as patent search techniques.
Amuka stated that the registry having considered the need to get the database closer to the people is collaborating with renowned tertiary institutions with interest in outstanding research history where the database will also be domiciled so that stake holders may not need to converge in Abuja to access trademarks and patent information.
“This is the first time that we are creating the national network system that will start from the tertiary institutions. The pool of information in the global system we hope will facilitate quick breakthrough in the process for research and innovations that will be industrially applicable.
“So we hope that the process will begin by linking inventions community with industry through the patent system in contrast to what obtains now that research work are lying idle in the archives of the Universities and Research Institutions” Amuka stated.
The Chief Registrar said that the National Network Centers will expose those indigenous technologies which have remained unknown to the international community and investors, saying that the world is looking unto Nigerian provide the lead in robust research products and major technology breakthroughs.
“The creation of this National Network Center to be coordinated by the Registry of Trademarks, Patent and Deigns ensures that the innovators and creators of ideas are linked up directly to the legal institutions empowered to give protection to those ideas and we believe this is the starting point for innovation and creativity that has reached breakthrough point.
Amuka was emphatic that patent is a viable alternative for foreign exchange earnings and a viable source of funding for the tertiary institutions.
“Universities in Developed nations are using Patent System as a source of funds for their activities. The challenge for our universities is to exploit this possibility to reduce dependence on funding from government.
The representative of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Geneva, Mr. Elangi Botoy Ituku, who is the Director of Innovation and Technology Support, said that the workshop will expose participants to international database and introduce them to over 1000 technologies which they can explore seamlessly to improve on their knowledge and inventions. He said that these technologies can be used in food preservations, health care, Information and Communication Technology, Water, Power to mention but a few.
Ituku however regretted that with over 100 million products and innovation patented by WIPO, none is from Nigeria.