Wondering if you’ve got the next great invention? Who would buy it as a product or a service? What funds will take you from lab to market?

The Market Landscape Research Service helps you assess technology, the marketplace and investment funding. The service offers custom analytical reports that provide a strategic view of the patent and competitive landscape and opportunities for grants and funding to complete research and launch new products, services, and businesses. Projects can start at any time.

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“The market analysis for our product Tethex was an excellent addition to our growing understanding of the key factors relevant to competing in our targeted markets.”

Tyler Tibbits, VP of Sales & Marketing, Tethis, Inc.
“These market summaries were incredibly detailed and provided an in depth analysis of the current state of the solar energy market. This helps us think about and understand where our technology will fit in as we move forward.”

Dr. Ralph House, UNC EFRC Liaison for External Outreach and Collaboration


Nomination Criteria

TCC Grant Clients

  • No cost to qualifying inventors and firms in NC
  • Preference given to firms in NC Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties
  • Focus on “pre-venture” projects and University tech transfer support
  • Technology-based inventions, startups and small businesses
  • Clients agree to complete a short semi-annual business information survey

UNC Clients

  • Available to current UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, staff, or student
  • No cost to UNC-Chapel Hill clients
  • In partnership with the Office of Commercialization and Economic Development and other supporting UNC programs

All Others

  • Intended for startups (technology-based or social ventures) and small businesses only
  • Not available to inventors or firms that are working with another university’s technology transfer office except by request/approval of that office
  • Low-cost fee schedule for those not eligible as UNC-Chapel Hill or TCC Grant Clients

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?

What does a sample report look like?

See a sample report (redacted version)

What types of patent research do you offer?

  • There are 3 types of patent searches: novelty, validity, and freedom-to-operate (aka clearance).
  • 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 space 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 the 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 their technology transfer office or IP counsel.

Does this service include international patent searching?

Yes, we have access to a large collection of both US and international patents, such as: Europe • WIPO • Germany • China • India • Japan • Mexico • Brazil

How big (or small) should my company be before I contact you?

  • Any size of firm from individuals up to medium-sized companies are welcome.
  • One of our strengths is our ability to work with inventors and firms in very early stages of the development process. Based on our expertise and creativity, we work to help you plan strategically from the start.

Is the market analysis comparable to a search of competitors? Do you specify competitors?

  • Market analysis includes size of the market, customer demographics, geographic breakdowns of market size and customers, potential competitors and partners, and possible and existing products and services.
  • Types of information included depend upon your specific request and availability of relevant information.

What do I do if I’m from a different University, other than UNC-Chapel Hill?

  • We will work with you to coordinate with your technology transfer office or other commercialization support office, to confirm that paperwork is in place for confidentiality and/or licensing of your pre-disclosure inventions.
  • We look forward to partnering with you and your University.

What types of tools and resources do you use?

  • Derwent Innovation (formerly known as Thomson Innovation): top-ranked patent solution provider with global and country patent databases; the Derwent World Patent Index; and analytical tools for mapping, citation family analysis, geographic analysis, and timeline analysis.
  • Extensive resources in market research, competitive intelligence, and sci/tech literature.
  • Databases for grant and funding opportunities including federal and private resources.
  • Our reports provide both summary and analysis of findings to serve your needs for wider distribution and include source citations.
  • Reminder: Always follow copyright law and cite sources in any presentations or other re-packaging of information.

What are your qualifications?

We are a skilled team with nearly 20+ years’ experience as information professionals working with a broad portfolio of subjects.

Cynthia (Cindy) Reifsnider, Cindy.Reifsnider@unc.edu

  • Director, Research Services and Lead Analyst for Patent and Sci/Tech Literature
  • 20+ years of experience with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hewlett-Packard, and Virginia Tech University
  • Expertise in patent searching, sci/tech literature searching, and business research
  • MS in Information Science, BS in Atmospheric Science

Patrick Kastian, Patrick.Kastian@unc.edu

  • Research Analyst, Innovate Carolina
  • 5+ years of experience with the German American Chamber of Commerce
  • Expertise in industry research, competitive analysis, identification of funding opportunities, and business development
  • BS in International Business, BSBA in Marketing