Make sure your idea is market ready

Wondering if you’ve got the next great invention? Is it really novel? Who would buy it as a product or a service? What funding opportunities exist that may help get your invention from lab to market?

The Patent Landscaping and Market Research Service is available to current UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, staff, and students at no cost, and to organizations outside the University for a fee. This service helps you assess your technology, the marketplace and potential investment funding.


Explore our patent landscaping and market research services

The service offers custom analytical reports that provide a strategic view of the competitive landscape, current and projected market conditions, as well as opportunities for grants and funding to complete research and launch new products, services and businesses. Services include the following.

  • Patent landscaping (aka, patent mapping). Strategic view of the patent landscape for technical development path and portfolio planning; citation family analysis; and potential licensee identification.
  • Market/industry research. Market/industry opportunity assessment, including market size and existing commercial landscape; and competitive intelligence on potential licensees, partners and competitors.
  • Grant/funding opportunity research: Identification of grant/funding opportunities from federal and state agencies as well as private foundations.
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Patent landscape
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Existing products and services
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Potential competitors and partners
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Market sizing and segmentation
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Customer demographics
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Unmet needs
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Key drivers and potential barriers
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Investment and funding opportunities

The types of information included depend on your specific request and the availability of relevant information. Our analysts have access to a vast array of resources in market research, competitive intelligence, and science/technology literature. Databases for grant and funding opportunities include federal, state, as well as private sources.

Since launching the service in late 2012, the Market Landscape Research team has successfully completed over 650 projects with more than 420 unique clients across UNC-Chapel Hill schools and departments. Notable startups the team has supported include Carbon, MedServe, Sonovol, Impulsonic, NeuroNano, Falcon Therapeutics and Sandbar Oyster Company. The team operates in close partnership with the Office of Technology Commercialization and other supporting UNC I&E programs.


How patent landscaping works

Patent landscaping (patent mapping, patent visualization) builds on patent searching to also create a visual or graphical model of the patent space for strategic purposes. Patent landscaping helps identify not only what IS in the patent landscape but what is not – what characteristics leave an opening for R&D and for patenting, what are the relationships, who are the players, what are the trends. It brings together the art and science of patenting. We provide patent landscaping as an information service. Our goal is to provide clients with research and knowledge to hold effective meetings with the University’s technology transfer office or IP counsel. We have access to a large collection of both US and international patents, such as: Europe, WIPO, Germany, China, India, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil.


Services available for non-UNC organizations

In addition to the no-cost services we provide to faculty, students and staff at UNC-Chapel Hill, our team also provides a suite of patent landscaping and market research services to organizations outside the University on a fee-per-service basis. Based on the invention information provided by the client, our team will provide an analytical report describing the strategic patent landscape of an invention and an overview of the market opportunity landscape. We examine one invention per request. One invention may include multiple source documents but will focus on a finite innovation area.

High-level patent landscape

  • Client provides additional subject-matter-expertise analysis.
  • Earlier in the idea/invention process, including pre-invention disclosure.
  • Focuses on strategy for the inventor’s idea development with crowdedness of the patent space and technology landscape.

In-depth patent landscape analysis

  • Includes potential licensees and provides preliminary input regarding freedom-to-operate, but does not include performing an FTO search or opinion.
  • Delivers input to focus intellectual property filing and develop IP strategy.
  • Provides a more polished report with analysis to the inventor, participating team members and University tech transfer staff or IP counsel (as applicable).
  • Scientific/technical literature research, if needed, for prior art or to assist in solving technical issues.

Market evaluation assessment

  • Examines market research for size of market, geographies, potential products/services and competitors.
  • Grant/funding opportunity research: Identification of grant/funding opportunities from federal and state agencies as well as private foundations.

Complete patent landscaping and market evaluation assessment

  • Includes in-depth patent landscape and market evaluation assessment (as described above).
  • Examines market research for size of market, geographies, potential products/services and competitors.
  • Grant/funding opportunity research: Identification of grant/funding opportunities from federal and state agencies as well as private foundations

Clients are asked to provide the following types of information to our team:

  • Invention disclosure documentation and/or patent applications and/or patent documents that describe the invention under review. Unpublished documents are held as confidential.
  • Publications (such as journal articles) that describe the invention under review.
  • Relevant business plan documents that describe the market, industry and customers of interest to the client.

Our team may request additional information from our clients before and/or during the project about the invention and the scope of the project on an as-needed basis (via in-person consultation, telephone, video conference and/or e-mail). Clients are expected to respond to any follow-up inquiries by our team as the project is executed.

Costs for our services are shown in the following table. For a description of each type of service, please refer to the “Non-UNC Service Offerings” section.

  • High-level patent landscape: $1,200
  • In-depth patent landscape analysis: $1,800
  • Market evaluation assessment: $1,800
  • Complete patent landscaping and market evaluation assessment: $2,700


Market research advising for students

Do you have an idea for a new product or service? Do you have a new technology that can have a positive societal impact? Are you passionate about a real-world issue or problem that you want to solve? Are you interested in learning more about the market research process? The Market Research Service at UNC-Chapel Hill helps students assess their ideas in the context of current and projected market conditions that drive the development of new ideas, products, and services.

You will be able to answer key questions like:

  • Who is your customer?
  • What can you do for them?
  • How does your customer acquire your product?
  • How do you make money?
  • How do you design and build your product?
  • How do you scale your business?

Following proven innovation and entrepreneurship methodologies (including the business model canvas and the disciplined entrepreneur), we advise on critical steps in the market research process including:  

  • Research selection
  • Data collection
  • Interpretation and analysis of research findings
  • Reporting of results

Contact Innovate Carolina’s research analyst Patrick Kastian for more information and to set up a meeting.


Connect with our team

Our patent landscaping and market research team is ready to help you assess your technology, the marketplace and potential funding for your ideas.