According to research by Leadership Science reports, Nigeria is reputed as one of the countries with the highest number of contributions to literary and peer review journals. Sadly, it is also on top of the list of high-import dependent nations, with the economic sector driven by over 95 per cent imported technologies.

Nigeria is blessed with natural resources which drives its economy, however, the world has moved on from resource to knowledge-based economy hence the need for the nation to join the comity of nations which pushes for development through knowledge and skills promotion over mineral resources.

This formed the crux of the discussion when the director-general of National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr. DanAzumi Mohammed Ibrahim, received a delegation from the Trademark Registry, led by its registrar, Barr. Shafiu Adamu Yauri, who paid him a courtesy visit in his office at NOTAP’s headquarters in Abuja.
Addressing the delegation, Ibrahim lamented that Nigeria was not feeling the vibrancy of research and development which determines the industrial and technological development of a nation.

He averred that despite paucity of funds, Nigeria was not witnessing the translation of research and development (R&D) efforts into commercialized products.
“We see the world is moving from resource-based to knowledge-based economy and the vibrancy of research and development in any society is what determines the industrial and technological development of the nation.

“Our research establishments are doing their best notwithstanding funding issues, realizing that we saw a gap, which is that we don’t see our research and development efforts translating into products and services,” he said.

The NOTAP boss lamented that the pattern of consumption in Nigeria is import dependent with the resultant negative effect on the nation’s foreign reserve, insisting that the only solution is to reduce foreign consumption, develop local substitutes and improve them for export.

“If you see our pattern of consumption as a nation, it is mainly import dependence, and there is no way we can develop if we rely solely on what is produced outside the country.
“Our resources especially our foreign reserves are dwindling and so long as we continue importing it will keep going down and can only improve if we reduce consuming other people’s products and services and begin to substitute those ones with what is produced locally.

“So, when we see the gap to ensure our economy improves at sustainable level, we begin to see our research and development translating to products and services,” he stated.
He further said the inability of innovations and inventions translating into products and services showed there was something very important and fundamentally missing in Nigeria’s culture which is that of protecting its intellectual assets, stating it is so weak in the universities and the R&D agencies.

“So, we saw a gap which is how do we assist in ensuring that innovations coming from the universities, research establishments and polytechnics are commercialized and the first stage of commercialization is protecting the intellectual assets.

“Commercialisation is a private sector affair; you don’t expect a researcher to commercialize his research and development affairs, and no public sector will put his or her own money where the intellectual asset is not protected. That is why for a long time our concentration was in assisting researchers in patenting their technologies,” he added.

He assured the readiness of the trademark registry office of the agency to collaborate with the agencies to champion any course that would stimulate and translate R&D assets into products and services.

Earlier, Yauri highlighted trademark as the most important and essential of all the Intellectual Property (IP) family.

“The trademark registry is the gateway to the market. So, in terms of performing the statutory duties of NOTAP, this is where the trademark registry provides the gateway, we provide the linkage between research and development results and the market. So, we represent the gateway to the market. Like I have always been saying there are certain distinctive functions that trademark performs which makes it one of the most essential of all the Intellectual Property family.

“We feel and very strongly so that the role of trademarks in commercialization of products and bringing them to the market is so important and intertwined with the statutory functions of National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion to be here to first request a partnership with the agency,” he said.

He said that the trademark registry is the gateway to the market and had decided that a desk officer from NOTAP would be needed at the registry, that would handle every trademark application from the agency efficiently.

Yauri advocated a robust relationship between ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government to drive processes and complement each other in their activities.

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