Representatives from IDA's and corresponding members.


  • The WFCC patents committee had been set up in 1974 as a response to intergovernmental discussions which started at that time on mechanisms to regulate the deposit of microorganisms for patent purposes in culture collections. With the input of this committee the resulting 'Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedures' could be concluded as workable. Since that time the patents committee has kept a watching brief on the operations of the Treaty and has advised depositors, depositories and governments of its functioning. When in 1987 WIPO intended to publish an official guide to the deposit under the Treaty, again the chairman of the patents committee, Ivan Bousfield, was invited to assist in its preparation. Members of the committee have collaborated on publications and have participated in the organization of international training courses and symposia concerning patent deposits. They have advised culture collections on the acquisition of the Status and the functioning of an International Depositary Authority (IDA) and were able to advise regulatory bodies on arising impingements on the patent deposit system by forseen legislation.
  • The tasks of the WFCC patents committee are to be seen in connection with existing and developing international legislation covering the deposit of living biological material for patent purposes in culture collections. The main body involved in this kind of legislative is the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva. Close collaboration with this organization should be furthered. From there various legislative information of importance for IDAs is available. Collaboration should also be seeked with the WFCC Postal, Quarantine and Safety Regulations Committee. The information collected by members of this committee on national legislation covering the work with biological material should be consulted by individual IDAs to be informed on additional national regulations influencing the patent system.
  • It was decided at an earlier meeting that all IDA representatives should be per se members of the patents committee (presently there are 29 IDAs in the world). The new Executive Board of WFCC decided in Veldhoven to have in addition three corresponding members from regions of the world where the patent system with respect to deposit of biological material is just developing, to ease early transfer of relevant knowledge.



Future Activities of the committee and its members:

  • to keep and update contacts with WIPO
  • provide WIPO regularly with updated information on individual IDA requirements
  • to provide support to new IDAs or those collections planning to become an IDA
  • to continue the recently started ECCO initiative on the questionnaire on IDA practice after it will have been completed on the european level. Consultation of WIPO and EPA will be needed to ascertain the necessary legal input. The resulting compilation of IDA experience may be used to produce a kind of guide for future IDAs and for informing patent offices, attorneys and prospective depositors.