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Patent Deposit


In 2013, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) designated Bigelow’s NCMA as an International Depositary Authority (IDA) for the deposit of biological material for the purposes of utility patent procedure under the Budapest TreatyWe currently accept vegetatively propogated plant tissue, crop seed, bacteria (non-pathogenic), algae (unicellular and multicellular), protozoa (non-parasitic), archaea, and aquatic viruses. 


First Steps and Paperwork

To initiate a deposit or with any questions, please contact us via email at  PatentDeposit@bigelow.org or by phone (001) 207-315-2567 x 210. We require notice of 5-7 business days from all depositors before they intend to ship material. Prenotification is important to set the draft queue for processing of deposits, prepare materials, and manage personnel.

First time depositors will need to complete a Patent Deposit Terms and Conditions form (Terms and Conditions) and Billing Instruction form (Billing). Please indicate in your email if you have been sent to us via communication with an attorney or other contact.

For each seed deposit, a BPAF1 (BP/AF1) will need to be completed. For all other deposits (plant tissue, microbes, algae, etc), a BP1 form (BP/1) will need to be completed per deposit.

Please email completed forms to us PRIOR to sending any material for deposit and do not proceed with shipment until we have notified you when we are prepared to receive material.


General Instructions

For all deposit types, please reach out to us with any technical questions.

Crop seed: Per deposit, we require 25 packets with 25 seeds per packet, totaling 625 seeds. Each packet should be labeled with the ID reference number that matches the BPAF1. Viability will be tested via standard towel germination procedures. If seeds have been dried to a moisture content appropriate for low temperature storage, they will be stored at -20°C. Otherwise, seeds will be stored at 4°C. Storage directions should be specified under Section III of the BPAF1 form.

Vegetative plant tissue: We recommend contacting us to discuss the condition/stage of plant material proposed for deposit. Apical meristem dissections will be conducted and require plantlets to be young and not flowering with shoot tips under 3 weeks old. Per deposit, we require at least 32 plantlets which will allow for our minimal requirement of 26 apical meristem dissections. Samples will be cryopreserved via a droplet vitrification protocol unless the depositor discusses another protocol with us. Viability of the cryopreserved samples will be tested via Evans Blue tissue stain. Please send plantlets in hard bodied containers and be mindful of light and nutrient limitation to assure a successful submission.

Algae: Each algal deposit should include at least two 15mL aliquots of culture. Please ship in packaging that will keep algae at the appropriate temperature and ensure that the aliquots are Parafilmed/taped to prevent leaking. Algal cultures will be cryopreserved according to our standard protocol unless the depositor has their own protocol (Cryopreservation). We cannot guarantee that cryopreservation will work for all algal species and will discuss options with depositor if needed. Algal cultures can also be maintained in liquid culture within our set temperature incubators (2⁰C, 14⁰C, 20⁰C or 24⁰C) at a 13:11 light:dark cycle. Please contact us to discuss specific culture details such as shaking or use of media other than what we regularly use (Media).

Microbes: Per deposit, we require 11 vials of cryopreserved material, shipped on dry ice. The shipment should include prepared plates of media used for cultivation which we require for viability testing. On Section V of the BP1 form, please indicate how the colonies/culture should appear on the plate.



Please do not ship any material without first contacting us via PatentDeposit@bigelow.org. We will then notify you of when we are ready for you to ship.

Please email us the tracking number for the shipment. Our office does not accept packages after business hours or on weekends/holidays. The deposit material may be compromised if NCMA staff are unaware of its delivery. The depositor is responsible for the condition of material upon arrival at the NCMA.

Please use a reputable courier service and appropriate shipping materials. Address all packages to:

    NCMA Patent Deposit
    Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
    60 Bigelow Drive
    East Boothbay, ME 04544
    Phone: (001) 207-315-2567 x210



Upon initial contact, we can estimate the amount of weeks required to process the deposit. This may vary depending on the type of deposit and other deposits in queue.

    1. Deposit Accession: When the deposit material arrives at the NCMA, we will check its condition and notify the depositor ASAP. Once the deposit material has been deemed acceptable, it will be assigned an NCMA accession number. This will serve as the International Depositary Authority number given on the BP4 accession form. The date that the shipment has arrived will be noted as the date of accession.
    2. Payment: The depositor will be invoiced shortly after the NCMA receives material. Open invoices are expected to be paid within a timely manner (30 days).
    3. Viability Testing: The NCMA will test viability of the deposit using accepted procedures based on the material. Please indicate the conditions for testing viability specific to the deposit when completing the BP1/BPAF1. Duration of the viability test will depend on the type of the deposited material. Viability of the deposit will be stated on a BP9 form.
    4. Budapest forms: The depositor will receive a completed accession form (BP4) and a viability statement (BP9) per deposit. The issuance of these forms is included within the depositor’s original per strain deposit fee. Any additional viability tests, which would be conducted only at the depositor’s request, would be invoiced accordingly (see Fees below).
    5. Storage: The NCMA will hold the deposit(s) within liquid nitrogen or within our -20°C or 4°C storage area for 30 plus 5 years from date of receipt. Please indicate the conditions for storage specific to the deposit on the associated BP1/BPAF1 form.


Request for Release of Material under Patent Deposit

The NCMA keeps information about a deposit confidential prior to issuance of the associated patent and will only release material in accordance with the requirements of patent law.

Biological material is distributed to those entitled to receive them under Rule 11 of the Budapest Treaty. The original depositor will be notified quarterly of distributions of their deposited material. The quarterly report will include the name(s) to whom the material was distributed, as well as other relevant information.

    Rule 11.1:Before issuance of a patent, the patent office(s) with which the application has been filed can formally request distribution. A BP10 form is required for the request.

    Rule 11.2: At any time, anyone having the original depositor’s specific written authorization can receive a distribution. A BP11 form is required for the request.

    Rule 11.3:After issuance of a patent, anyone legally entitled can make a distribution request according to Rule 11.3a. Incontrovertible evidence that the patent has been issued and the appropriate patent accession number are required before a sample is released. A BP12 form is required for the request.



Plant tissue, algae, microbes, etc:

    $3,300 per deposit. This fee includes preparation*, initial viability test (Evan’s blue, cell count, etc), and storage (frozen or lyophilized). *For plant tissue, preparation involves excising meristematic tissue from plantlets or callus tissue. Working with plants in soil may require an additional fee, assessed on a case-by-case basis. Note: The material MUST have been proven to be stored and reanimated from long term frozen storage. For an additional fee, billed at $200/h, the NCMA can do preliminary tests for feasibility of cold storage and reanimation. If this testing is deemed necessary, NCMA Curators will provide a cost estimate before initiation of the work.

    $750 for an additional viability statement, when requested by the depositor.

    $27,500 for perpetual culturing for 30 years + 5 years (includes first viability statement)


Crop seeds:

    $1,650 per deposit. This fee includes initial viability test (standard towel germination) and storage.

    $750 for an additional viability statement


Furnishing of deposits

    $220 per furnished deposit (one packet of seeds or vial of cryopreserved material)

    $330 additional fee for furnishing deposited plant tissue as live nodes on agar