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Intellectual Property Policy

The Intellectual Property Policy of the University of Calabar has been developed arising from the need to streamline the processes through which intellectual property is developed and its proceeds equitably distributed. It therefore contains guidelines on the development, protection, commercialization and sharing of proceeds of intellectual works created by staff and students.

Part of our mandate as a University is engagement in creative research and the orderly utilization of the results in industry and income generation. The University must, therefore, channel research efforts towards the creation of protectable intellectual property in order to address her core mandate.

The absence of a coherent Intellectual policy in the past has hindered and retarded our vision of making research results available to Industry in an orderly manner. The high concentration of highly trained and efficient intellectual manpower in the University of Calabar who create valuable intellectual property in the course of their research makes it necessary that we develop a policy document that will supply the necessary guidelines for the protection and reward of the researchers concerned. It is hoped that our staff and students will take advantage of this opportunity to adopt a more practice-oriented, innovative and entrepreneurship-directed approach to their research endeavours. The University is determined to support such efforts through the provision of sufficient material and financial resources necessary to conclude such research that will give rise to patentable inventions and vendable intellectual property.

This is the first comprehensive Intellectual Property Policy Document of the University of Calabar. Necessary revisions and amendments shall be undertaken as the need arises from time to time. Such reviews shall be in line with established relevant national and international benchmarks and guidelines.

I enjoin all to give life to this document to the benefit of intellectual property development and utilization in our great institution.

Prof. Zana Itiunbe Akpagu (KSM, JP) fcai, fipm.
Vice Chancellor


The University of Calabar (UNICAL) is a second generation University which was established in 1975 as a non-profit educational institution to serve the public interest. Its core mandates include teaching, research and community service, and is financed through grants from the Federal Government, students’ charges and other internally generated revenues from its consultancy services.

With a high concentration of qualified technological manpower in the University, the staff and students often create some intellectual property consisting of new inventions and copyrightable works that ought to be protected, licensed and marketed so as to make its research efforts to be more beneficial to the inventor, University and society. There is therefore the need for Intellectual Property Policy to protect, license and market the inventions.

By this policy, staff who have created marketable intellectual property are encouraged to cooperate with the University in securing their protection and in finding potential licensees for successful commercialization, with the aim of mutual sharing of the proceeds. This policy statement provides guidelines for disclosure and development of intellectual property created by staff in the course of their employment, and for financing their protection, commercialization, and equitable sharing of the royalties derived from it.

All staff and students are expected to take advantage of the provisions of this policy and devote themselves to creative research that will yield intellectual property, in order to reap its numerous benefits.


The National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) was established by Federal Government of Nigeria by Decree No. 70 of 1979, as the National Office of Industrial Property (NOIP). In 1992, the name of the Office was changed to National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) by Decree No. 82 of 1992. This was to ensure that the name adequately reflects the entire functions of the Office and to also remove any ambiguity or misconception that may arise in relation to any other Government agency. NOTAP is a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology. One of the mandates of NOTAP is to promote Research and Development. One of the agencies of Research and development is through the intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Office (IPTTO) programme.

The concept of the IPTTO was borne out of the desire to create awareness on intellectual Property. The programme has several objectives as listed:

  • To protect the Intellectual property of the University, its innovators, inventors, research sponsors and the public;
  • To eliminate the infringement, improper exploitation and abuse of the University’s intellectual assets;
  • To optimize the environment and incentives for research and for the creation of new knowledge;
  • To promote linkages between industry and the academia;
  • To promote creativity and innovation; and
  • To ensure fair and equitable distribution of all benefits accruing from all innovations and inventions.

To date, NOTAP has established 39 IPTTOs in tertiary institutions and research institutes across the country headed by Coordinators or Directors. IPTTO in University of Calabar was commissioned on 3rd February, 2017 by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu. To achieve its above objectives, the IPTTO was mandated to carry out the following:

  1. Collation of patent/copyright applications to send to NOTAP for scrutiny before approval.
  2. Development of IP database.
  3. Formulation of Intellectual Property Policy (IP) for the University.


The objectives of UNICAL Intellectual Property Policy are:

  • To encourage research, scholarship and generation of new knowledge among the staff and students of the University by giving necessary recognition, incentives and support to those involved;
  • To establish guidelines on ownership, legal protection and sharing of the proceeds derived from University-developed intellectual property;
  • To define the procedures for preservation of novelty of University-developed inventions until they are patented;
  • To outline orderly procedures for management of University developed intellectual property from the time of disclosure by the creator to the time of licensing and marketing;
  • To reward the creativity of the staff, departments and faculties concerned through their share in the proceeds derived from their intellectual property;
  • To assist staff and students who have created new inventions in the course of their research activities to assess their patentability, and to obtain patent protection;
  • To ensure that all types of intellectual property such as new inventions, industrial designs, utility models, soft-ware and other copyrightable works created by staff and students in the course of their research are properly protected;
  • To ensure the transfer of these intellectual property to industry for utilisation by licensing and marketing them for commercial exploitation;
  • To enhance the dissemination of staff and students’ research results for maximum benefit to the public while ensuring that their intellectual property rights are adequately safeguarded; and
  • To ensure fruitful utilization of research grants in endeavours that can yield tangible results.


In this policy, the following expressions shall bear the meanings hereby ascribed to them:

A Patent is a concession given by the state to an inventor of a new product or process to enable him to restrain others for 20 years from producing and commercialising on it without his authorisation.

Know-how consists of information and practical knowledge that is relevant to the method of design and manufacture of a product.

Licensing is an approval given by an intellectual property owner to an interested party to exploit or vend his intellectual property within a defined territory on agreed terms including payment of royalties.

A Creator means any academic staff, non-teaching senior and junior staff, research fellow, visiting or adjunct lecturers, contract staff, consultants, as well as undergraduate and graduate students who have created any type of marketable intellectual property that is covered by this Policy in the course of their association with the University.

Copyright is the exclusive rights of intellectual creators in their works, i.e. literary works, musical works, artistic works, cinematograph films, sound recordings, and broadcasts. It is the exclusive right of the owner to reproduce, publish, perform, distribute, translate, broadcast, communicate, adapt, or make any cinematograph film or a record in respect of the work. It prevents unauthorized persons from doing any of these acts.

An Industrial Design is the appearance of a product resulting from such features as its lines, contours, colours, shape, texture or its ornamentation. It also includes such outward or aesthetic appearance of an article as shape, configuration, pattern or lines, and must be intended as a model or pattern for multiplying copies through an industrial process.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) are rights granted by the government under Statute to creators of new inventions, industrial designs, copyrights, and other creative works, for a limited period, to enable them to control their use and prevent unauthorized persons from pirating them.

Patent Examination is the examination of a patent application by the Patent Registry to ensure that the invention concerned meets the required conditions for patent grant.

Patent Registration System refers to the grant of patents by the Patent Registry after a mere formal examination of the application documents, without examination as to substance of the invention concerned.

Prior Art refers to existing body of knowledge, information and publications relating to the particular field of invention before the filing of a new patent application, which will be the basis for judging the novelty of the new invention.

New Plant Variety protection is the protection granted to breeders of new, stable, distinct and uniform plant varieties for at least twenty years.

Patent Specification is the area of a patent application that describes how the invention concerned can be made and used, as well as the applicant’s claim.

Patent Claims are statements that disclose the novel features of an invention. They are summaries of the points of novelty of the invention disclosed by the specification, usually couched in broad and general terms, and define the scope of the protection sought.

Trade Secret consists of confidential information like manufacturing or industrial processes, commercial secrets, sales methods, distribution methods, consumer profiles, advertising strategies, lists of suppliers and clients, and manufacturing processes that give an enterprise a competitive edge over other enterprises.

Trademark is any sign or symbol that is capable of being represented graphically, and which can be used by a manufacturer to distinguish his goods or services from those of other manufacturers.


The following intellectual property works produced by students, staff and visiting scholars are covered in this policy:

  • Patentable inventions
  • Industrial Designs
  • Trade secrets (including confidential information or business data)
  • Copyright and Moral Rights
  • Computer Software and Databases
  • Trademarks
  • New Plant and Animal Varieties


All intellectual property created in the University with substantial use of its resources by staff and students belong to the University in line with the general practice. Such resources include University funds, facilities, laboratories and equipment, but excludes such resources that are usually available to all students and staff such as the general library. The University also owns intellectual property rights in works that are required to be assigned to it under this Policy.

TUNICAL shall acquire the ownership of intellectual property rights in all inventions, discoveries, improvements, useful processes, industrial designs, and all kinds of copyrightable works made by staff and students in the course of their official or officially assigned duties, and using UNICAL facilities, equipment, funds and other official materials.

All Staff and Students shall be notified of the ownership of these intellectual property by UNICAL, and of their obligation to assign them to the University without delay, to be administered in line with the procedures specified in this Policy.

Intellectual property developed by staff outside their field of academic work and without any significant use of UNICAL resources shall belong to the staff concerned.

In appropriate cases, ownership of intellectual property in works externally sponsored by the State, Federal Government, External Agencies and Institutions shall be partially vested in such sponsors as they may have the need for their uses after appropriate consultation with the University.

All academic staff shall henceforth refrain from signing consultancy and other agreements with any agency if the terms of such agreements are at variance with the conditions contained in this policy, particularly where they involve assignment of ownership in inventions created with substantial use of University resources to such agency. In all of such cases, the staff member should refer the agreement concerned to the University for vetting and consent before embarking on the assignment.


Staff shall be required to sign intellectual property form, undertaking to assign all rights, titles and interests in intellectual property that are covered herein to the University, subject to the proceeds sharing formula and other terms contained in this policy.

In consideration of the role played by UNICAL in providing the facilities and enabling environment in their research efforts, all staff and students shall grant to UNICAL a perpetual and irrevocable, royalty free right to the use of their inventions and other types of intellectual property for further research activities.


Any intellectual property created by a staff outside the scope of his employment, without the use of UNICAL facilities or his official working hours shall belong to the staff concerned, and he would be free to apply for protection in his own name, and administer it solely for his own benefit.

Where the invention focuses on the same area of specialization of the staff’s official work, he shall not patent it in his own name, or for his own benefit without clarification with the University, to avoid any conflict of interest.

The staff concerned may, however, voluntarily transfer such property to the University for further development and commercialization, by disclosing it in the appropriate manner to the University. In that case, all the relevant provisions of this policy including proceeds sharing shall apply if, after evaluating its commercial potential, the University decides to accept the intellectual property.


A staff who serves in an outside educational or other organization on research visit, ad hoc employment or sabbatical leave should understand that any intellectual property created by him while there will belong solely to UNICAL or jointly with that other organization, and should ensure that an intellectual property agreement is concluded prior to the commencement of the duty over there.


The rights to any intellectual property works created by any student in the course of their studies, such as musical works, theses, artistic works, dissertations, class papers and other creative works shall belong to the student concerned. Specifically, all students own copyright in their theses and dissertations, but shall grant to the University the right to display them on websites that are created and owned or controlled by the University, and to reproduce them and publish, where need be. The following exceptions shall, however, apply:

Where a student has made significant use of UNICAL equipment, facilities and resources for a research, any resulting invention shall be assigned to the University, and the student shall be treated as if he were a University employee in its administration and sharing of its proceeds. Also, where a student collects financial assistance or research fellowship the intellectual property will belong to the University in such a case subject to the revenue sharing formula established under this policy.

Where a student participates in a sponsored or official academic research, or in a research programme under which any intellectual property generated must be assigned to the University, or generates intellectual property which builds upon an existing UNICAL intellectual property, or jointly creates an intellectual property with some University employees, the intellectual property generated in any of these cases shall be assigned to the University, while the student shall be treated in the same way as UNICAL employees on the aspect of revenue sharing.


Staff and students who participate in developing teaching materials are deemed to agree that copyright in them belong to the University, and that the University shall have the sole, exclusive and irrevocable right to publish, reproduce and apply them free of charge at all times for the purpose of teaching successive classes of students as it deems fit. Where the material concerned is being sold at a profit, that profit shall be shared in line with the formula stipulated in this policy.


Where the University waives its right to accept and own any intellectual property created by a staff in the course of his employment, if it considers the cost of developing and protecting it to be higher than any anticipated income from its commercial exploitation, the inventor shall be free to apply for a patent or assert a copyright in his personal name, and at his private expense and retain the intellectual property solely for his own benefit.

In case of such waiver, the IPTTO shall notify the creator that the University is not interested in owning it, and that he should protect the intellectual property in his own name, at his own expense, and apply the proceeds strictly for his own benefit.


Copyright in relation to books or any work is owned by the author, who is entitled to determine how it should be produced, reproduced, disseminated, and to keep the income derived from it.

Where the work contains software as its primary constituent, then copyright should be jointly owned by the University and the creator.

Where the work was created pursuant to a formal agreement with the University or was sponsored by a third party pursuant to a written agreement with the University, then copyright shall be determined by the terms of the agreement.

Download Full Document of UNICAL Intellectual Property Policy here