"For many technologies, a written description is enough to enable a specialist working in the relevant field to reproduce an invention for which patent protection is sought. When it comes to microorganisms, however, this will not generally suffice. Take, for example, an organism isolated in soil that has been 'improved' by mutation and further selection. It would be practically impossible to describe the strain and its selection in a way that would guarantee that another skilled microbiologist would obtain the same strain. In such instances, the microorganism itself is considered a key part of the disclosure  PDF, Introduction to the Budapest Treaty. For this reason, many countries require that when patenting microorganisms, written disclosure is complemented by deposit of the biological material in question with a specialized culture collection."

"However, depositing multiple samples with each patent application is impractical. IP offices are ill-equipped to store and preserve biological materials and such a requirement would be hugely time-consuming and costly."

"Recognizing the peculiar challenges of patenting microorganisms, and the need for a streamlined and cost-effective international procedure, in the late 1970s policymakers adopted the WIPO-administered Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure."

"A key advantage of the Budapest Treaty is that for the purposes of patenting procedures, it eliminates the need to deposit multiple samples of the same biological material with biological resource centers in different countries. As such, it offers applicants an efficient, streamlined and cost-effective means of meeting the disclosure requirements associated with patenting microorganisms and other biological material."

From WIPO Magazine: http://ow.ly/RLFlA 

WIPO’s Budapest Treaty facilitates biotech patenting
August 2015. Humans have been using microorganisms for millennia. Tiny, single-cell living organisms such as yeast and bacteria are essential to produce food products like wine, beer and cheese. Only in the 20th century, however, did the industrial application of these microscopic powerhouses …

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