Sometimes patenting is the only way to translate an inventor's work into a product that will benefit the public. Bringing a new invention to market is a costly and risky process, especially in the life sciences area, and it may not occur if a company cannot be certain that it can prevent others from competing against it.
A patent allows a company a time of exclusivity to recoup the costs associated with design, development and marketing of the innovation. UCSF, as owner of inventions made by its employees, can license patents to companies that have the capability and resources to turn the invention into commercial products or services. Ideally, developing an invention into products and services creates jobs, increases government tax revenues, and provides additional revenue to the inventor and University through patent licensing fees.