Why Protect Your Invention Through Patent?

The patent system was created to protect and promote innovation and economic growth.  Obtaining a patent allows you to fully exploit the commercial potential of your idea.

  • For patentable inventions, it is difficult to protect your invention once you publish it via paper, website, or presentation at a conference.

How Public Disclosure Impacts IP Protection


Public disclosure

  • Submission of a paper
  • Slides presented at a conference
  • Poster presentation

Potential loss of IP rights

  • Loss of most foreign rights
  • 1-year clock starts for U.S. patent filing

One year after date of public disclosure

All patent rights lost


  • After filing a provisional patent application, you may exhibit or publish your work without the loss of patent protection for the inventions claimed in the application.
  • Patents provide a strong economic incentive for companies to license and develop UNC technology.   Patents give UNC, to which you will have assigned your invention, the right to “exclude others from practicing the invention” for a period of 20 years from the patent application’s fling date.  This period of exclusivity presents a barrier to entry to other companies, allowing the company the licenses the invention sufficient time to recoup its investment.

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