The DSMZ has served as a depositary of microorganisms for patent purposes since 1974. After recognition through WIPO on 01.10.1981 and the transfer of the depositary authority IMET, Jena (after the reunion of East and West Germany) to the DSMZ, the DSMZ is the only International Depositary Authority under the Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure in Germany.
The DSMZ is one of the IDAs with the highest numbers of patent deposits in Europe and the world. To meet patent law requirements, all patent deposits at the DSMZ are processed (with regard to the needs of the applicant) as internationally recognised deposits under the Budapest Treaty.
Since 1981, the range of kinds of biological material accepted has been extended continuously and now comprises archaea, bacteria, fungi, yeasts, plasmid DNAs, bacteriophages, plant viruses, plant cell cultures, human and animal cell cultures.
Statements of receipt and viability are issued according to the Budapest Treaty after viability and purity of the biological material have been confirmed.
Since 1981, patent deposits are regulated in an international frame by the Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure. It aims at overcoming the difficulties which arose from differing national patent regulations concerning the deposit of biological material. According to the treaty, certain scientifically recognised independent culture collections can obtain the status of an International Depositary Authority (IDA).
The main facts for a deposit according to the Budapest Treaty are as follows:
- A single deposit with one IDA (e.g. the DSMZ) is recognised as valid by all Contracting States of the Budapest Union.
- The storage time is at least 30 years.
- After deposition the culture cannot be claimed back. The deposit remains valid.
- The depositor is advised to keep samples of the culture for the same period of time so that in the case the culture is for any reason no longer available from the Depositary Authority he can replenish the stock.
- The Depositary Authority (the DSMZ) maintains secrecy about the details of a deposit and the nature of the deposited material. All material and information is handled strictly confidentially.
Further information about where and how to deposit may be drawn from the "Guide to the Deposit of Microorganisms under the Budapest Treaty" (WIPO, Geneva)