The patents, known collectively as the Enhanced Water Softening Technology, are estimated to bring in more than $100 million annually to the University and might bring about a new solution for treating hard water.
Hard water contains high levels of calcium or magnesium that erodes plumbing and can cause health problems.
"We are delighted that Procter & Gamble chose UNC-Chapel Hill to develop this technology," said Chancellor James Moeser at a press conference Monday morning.
Paul Poleman, president of Global Fabric Care at Procter & Gamble, said that by donating the patents to the University and allowing UNC researchers to develop the technology, the solution to hard water could quickly become a reality.
"By donating patents to UNC, the technology can be done faster," Poleman said, adding that UNC will be the sole owners of the technology.
"Hard water makes washing a difficult task because it limits the amount of lather."
He also said hard water creates buildup in pipes and boilers, which shortens an appliance's life span.
Poleman said the Environmental Protection Agency has linked hard water to health concerns such as kidney stones.
Philip Singer, professor of environmental sciences and engineering at the School of Public Health, will lead the program and research effort to eliminate hard water.