A vital basis of the DSMZ is to act, on a confidential basis, as a centre for the deposit of biological material for patent purposes under the Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedures (1977). The Treaty regulates patent deposits in an international frame work and coined a new institution – the International Depositary Authority (IDA). The most important element of the Treaty is that a single deposit with one IDA (e.g. the DSMZ) will be recognized almost worldwide.
The main reason for a patent deposit of biological material with an independent institution is to render it accessible for entitled parties for trials and examinations, thus ensuring repeatability of an invention. The first patent strain reached the DSM(Z) in 1972. Since 1978 the DSM(Z) was individually recognized by the European and Swedish patent offices. Since 1981 the DSMZ has the status of an IDA according to the Budapest Treaty.
An IDA has the following obligations
- to test the viability of a microorganism promptly after receipt.
- to accept and store microorganisms for the full period of time specified by the Treaty (5 years after the most recent request for the furnishing of a sample of the strain; at least for 30 years
- to furnish samples of deposited microorganisms for trials and examinations only to persons entitled to receive them.
- to comply with the bureaucratic requirements specified in the Treaty.
- to be impartial and objective.
- to be available on the same terms to any depositor.
- to comply with the requirements of secrecy
After the reunion of East and West Germany the patent collections of the former Institute for Microbiology and Experimental Therapy (IMET) in Jena and the Central Institute for Molecular Biology (ZIM) in Berlin were integrated into the DSMZ collection. The DSMZ is the only patent depositary in Germany recognized according to the Budapest Treaty with the highest deposition number per year in Europe and a stock of more than 7.800 cultures. Worldwide 41 IDA´s exist (May 2012).