MPEP 1823.01
Reference to Deposited Biological Material

This is the Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 08.2017, Last Revised in January 2018

Previous: §1823 | Next: §1823.02

1823.01    Reference to Deposited Biological Material [R-07.2015]

PCT Rule 13bis

Inventions Relating to Biological Material

13bis.1 Definition

For the purposes of this Rule, "reference to deposited biological material" means particulars given in an international application with respect to the deposit of a biological material with a depositary institution or to the biological material so deposited.

13 bis.2  References (General)

Any reference to deposited biological material shall be made in accordance with this Rule and, if so made, shall be considered as satisfying the requirements of the national law of each designated State.

13 bis.3  References: Contents; Failure to Include Reference or Indication

  • (a) A reference to deposited biological material shall indicate:
    • (i) the name and the address of the depositary institution with which the deposit was made;
    • (ii) the date of deposit of the biological material with that institution;
    • (iii) the accession number given to the deposit by that institution; and
    • (iv) any additional matter of which the International Bureau has been notified pursuant to Rule 13 bis.7(a)(i), provided that the requirement to indicate that matter was published in the Gazette in accordance with Rule 13bis.7(c) at least two months before the filing of the international application.
    • (b) Failure to include a reference to deposited biological material or failure to include, in a reference to deposited biological material, an indication in accordance with paragraph (a), shall have no consequence in any designated State whose national law does not require such reference or such indication in a national application.

13 bis.4  References: Time Limit for Furnishing Indications

  • (a) Subject to paragraphs (b) and (c), if any of the indications referred to in Rule 13 bis.3(a) is not included in a reference to deposited biological material in the international application as filed but is furnished to the International Bureau:
    • (i) within 16 months from the priority date, the indication shall be considered by any designated Office to have been furnished in time;
    • (ii) after the expiration of 16 months from the priority date, the indication shall be considered by any designated Office to have been furnished on the last day of that time limit if it reaches the International Bureau before the technical preparations for international publication have been completed.
  • (b) If the national law applicable by a designated Office so requires in respect of national applications, that Office may require that any of the indications referred to in Rule 13bis.3(a) be furnished earlier than 16 months from the priority date, provided that the International Bureau has been notified of such requirement pursuant to Rule 13bis.7(a)(ii) and has published such requirement in the Gazette in accordance with Rule 13bis.7(c) at least two months before the filing of the international application.
  • (c) Where the applicant makes a request for early publication under Article 21(2)(b), any designated Office may consider any indication not furnished before the technical preparations for international publication have been completed as not having been furnished in time.
  • (d) The International Bureau shall notify the applicant of the date on which it received any indication furnished under paragraph (a), and:
    • (i) if the indication was received before the technical preparations for international publication have been completed, publish the indication furnished under paragraph (a), and an indication of the date of receipt, together with the international application;
    • (ii) if the indication was received after the technical preparations for international publication have been completed, notify that date and the relevant data from the indication to the designated Offices.

13 bis.5  References and Indications for the Purposes of One or More Designated States; Different Deposits for Different Designated States; Deposits with Depositary Institutions Other Than Those Notified

  • (a) A reference to deposited biological material shall be considered to be made for the purposes of all designated States, unless it is expressly made for the purposes of certain of the designated States only; the same applies to the indications included in the reference.
  • (b) References to different deposits of the biological material may be made for different designated States.
  • (c) Any designated Office may disregard a deposit made with a depositary institution other than one notified by it under Rule 13bis.7(b).

13 bis.6  Furnishing of Samples

Pursuant to Articles 23 and 40, no furnishing of samples of the deposited biological material to which a reference is made in an international application shall, except with the authorization of the applicant, take place before the expiration of the applicable time limits after which national processing may start under the said Articles. However, where the applicant performs the acts referred to in Articles 22 or 39 after international publication but before the expiration of the said time limits, the furnishing of samples of the deposited biological material may take place, once the said acts have been performed. Notwithstanding the previous provision, the furnishing of samples of the deposited biological material may take place under the national law applicable by any designated Office as soon as, under that law, the international publication has the effects of the compulsory national publication of an unexamined national application.

13 bis.7 National Requirements: Notification and Publication

  • (a) Any national Office may notify the International Bureau of any requirement of the national law:
    • (i) that any matter specified in the notification, in addition to those referred to in Rule 13bis.3(a)(i), (ii) and (iii), is required to be included in a reference to deposited biological material in a national application;
    • (ii) that one or more of the indications referred to in Rule 13bis.3(a) are required to be included in a national application as filed or are required to be furnished at a time specified in the notification which is earlier than 16 months after the priority date.
  • (b) Each national Office shall notify the International Bureau of the depositary institutions with which the national law permits deposits of biological materials to be made for the purposes of patent procedure before that Office or, if the national law does not provide for or permit such deposits, of that fact.
  • (c) The International Bureau shall promptly publish in the Gazette requirements notified to it under paragraph (a) and information notified to it under paragraph (b).

PCT Administrative Instructions Section 209

Indications as to Deposited Biological Material on a Separate Sheet

  • (a) To the extent that any indication with respect to deposited biological material is not contained in the description, it may be given on a separate sheet. Where any such indication is so given, it shall preferably be on Form PCT/RO/134 and, if furnished at the time of filing, the said Form shall, subject to paragraph (b), preferably be attached to the request and referred to in the check list referred to in Rule 3.3(a)(ii).
  • (b) For the purposes of designated Offices, which have so notified the International Bureau under Rule 13bis.7(a), paragraph (a) applies only if the said Form or sheet is included as one of the sheets of the description of the international application at the time of filing.

   REFERENCES TO DEPOSITED BIOLOGICAL MATERIAL IN THE CASE OF MICROBIOLOGICAL INVENTIONS

The PCT does not require the inclusion of a reference to a biological material and/or to its deposit with a depositary institution in an international application; it merely prescribes the contents of any "reference to deposited biological material" (defined as "particulars given... with respect to the deposit of biological material... or to the biological material so deposited") which is included in an international application, and when such a reference must be furnished. It follows that the applicant may see a need to make such a reference only when it is required for the purpose of disclosing the invention claimed in the international application in a manner sufficient for the invention to be carried out by a person skilled in the art that is, when the law of at least one of the designated States provides for the making, for this purpose, of a reference to a deposited biological material if the invention involves the use of a biological material that is not available to the public. Any reference to a deposited biological material furnished separately from the description will be included in the publication of the international application.

A reference to a deposited biological material made in accordance with the requirements of the PCT must be regarded by each of the designated Offices as satisfying the requirements of the national law applicable in that Office with regard to the contents of such references and the time for furnishing them.

A reference may be made for the purposes of all designated States or for one or only some of the designated States. A reference is considered to be made for the purpose of all designated States unless it is expressly made for certain designated States only. References to different deposits may be made for the purposes of different designated States.

There are two kinds of indication which may have to be given with regard to the deposit of the biological material, namely:

  • (A) indications specified in the PCT Regulations themselves; and
  • (B) additional indications by the national (or regional) Office of (or acting for) a State designated in the international application and which have been published in the PCT Gazette; these additional indications may relate not only to the deposit of the biological material but also to the biological material itself.

The indications in the first category are:

(1) the name and the address of the depositary institution with which the deposit was made;

(2) the date of the deposit with that institution; and

(3) the accession number given to the deposit by that institution.

U.S. requirements include the name and address of the depository institution at the time of filing, the date of the deposit or a statement that the deposit was made on or before the priority date of the international application and, to the extent possible, a taxonomic description of the biological material. See Annex L of the PCT Applicant’s Guide.

The national laws of some of the national (or regional) Offices require that, besides indications concerning the deposit of a biological material, an indication be given concerning the biological material itself, such as, for example, a short description of its characteristics, at least to the extent that this information is available to the applicant. These requirements must be met in the case of international applications for which any such Office is a designated Office, provided that the requirements have been published in the PCT Gazette. Annex L of the PCT Applicant’s Guide indicates, for each of the national (or regional) Offices, the requirements (if any) of this kind which have been published.

If any indication is not included in a reference to a deposited biological material contained in the international application as filed, it may be furnished to the International Bureau within 16 months after the priority date unless the International Bureau has been notified (and, at least 2 months prior to the filing of the international application, it has published in the PCT Gazette) that the national law requires the indication to be furnished earlier. However, if the applicant makes a request for early publication, all indications should be furnished by the time the request is made, since any designated Office may regard any indication not furnished when the request is made as not having been furnished in time.

No check is made in the international phase to determine whether a reference has been furnished within the prescribed time limit. However, the International Bureau notifies the designated Offices of the date(s) on which indications, not included in the international application as filed, were furnished to it. Those dates are also mentioned in the publication of the international application. Failure to include a reference to a deposited biological material (or any indication required in such a reference) in the international application as filed, or failure to furnish it (or the indication) within the prescribed time limit, has no consequence if the national law does not require the reference (or indication) to be furnished in a national application. Where there is a consequence, it is the same as that which applies under the national law.

To the extent that indications relating to the deposit of a biological material are not given in the description, because they are furnished later, they may be given in the "optional sheet" provided for that purpose. If the sheet is submitted when the international application is filed, a reference to it should be made in the check list contained on the last sheet of the Request form. Should certain States be designated, e.g., Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, or Turkey, such a sheet must, if used, be included as one of the sheets of the description at the time of filing; otherwise the indications given in it will not be taken into account by the respective patent offices of those designated States in the national phase. Requirements of the various Offices are set forth in Annex L of the PCT Applicant’s Guide, available online at www.wipo.int/pct/en/appguide. If the sheet is furnished to the International Bureau later, it must be enclosed with a letter.

Each national (or regional) Office whose national law provides for deposits of biological material for the purposes of patent procedure notifies the International Bureau of the depositary institutions with which the national law permits such deposits to be made. Information on the institutions notified by each of those Offices is published by the International Bureau in the PCT Gazette.

A reference to a deposit cannot be disregarded by a designated Office for reasons pertaining to the institution with which the biological material was deposited if the deposit referred to is one made with a depositary institution notified by that Office. Thus, by consulting the PCT Gazette or Annex L of the PCT Applicant’s Guide, the applicant can be sure that he has deposited the biological material with an institution which will be accepted by the designated Office.

International Searching Authorities and International Preliminary Examining Authorities are not expected to request access to deposited biological material. However, in order to retain the possibility of access to a deposited biological material referred to in an international application which is being searched or examined by such an Authority, the PCT provides that the Authorities may, if they fulfill certain conditions, ask for samples. Thus, an Authority may only ask for samples if it has notified the International Bureau (in a general notification) that it may require samples and the International Bureau has published the notification in the PCT Gazette. The only Authority which has made such a notification (and thus the only Authority which may request samples) is the Japan Patent Office. If a sample is asked for, the request is directed to the applicant, who then becomes responsible for making the necessary arrangements for the sample to be provided.

The furnishing of samples of a deposit of a biological material to third persons is governed by the national laws applicable in the designated Offices. PCT Rule 13bis.6(b), however, provides for the delaying of any furnishing of samples under the national law applicable in each of the designated (or elected) Offices until the start of the national phase, subject to the ending of this "delaying effect" brought about by the occurrence of either of the following two events:

  • (A) the applicant has, after international publication of the international application, taken the steps necessary to enter the national phase before the designated Office.
  • (B) international publication of the international application has been effected, and that publication has the same effects, under the national law applicable in the designated Office, as the compulsory national publication of an unexamined national application (in other words, the international application has qualified for the grant of "provisional protection").