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Patent Deposit

Overview & First Steps

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. 

To  make a deposit for the purpose of utility patent procedure, please contact us at PatentDeposit@bigelow.org or by phone (001) 207-315-2567 x 1.  Following initial contact, a depositor’s next step is to review, sign, and return to the NCMA by email (also at PatentDeposit@bigelow.org) the Terms and Conditions form and Account Setup form which they will have received from the NCMA office along with one of the following deposit forms depending upon the material:

  • Non-Seeds (plant tissue, microbes, algae, etc.) – BP/1
  • Crop Seeds – BP/AF1

 For seeds, if additional material(s) is(are) needed after your initial deposit, at some point in the future, the depositor will need to complete and submit a BP/AF1A form. 



Once forms have been received and deemed complete, NCMA will notify the depositor and request that they ship their deposit(s) to NCMA (address below). For safe arrival, we strongly encourage all depositors to use a reputable courier service and appropriate shipping materials.  Prior to shipment, NCMA may request a call with the depositor (depending on prior discussion) to learn more about the material being deposited and ensure seamless and successful deposit(s).  Once shipped, the depositor is asked to provide NCMA a tracking number so that we can track shipment.  Once deposits are received, NCMA will then confirm that all deposits are acceptable and match up with their associated BP/1 or BP/AF1 forms (known as “form acceptance”).  Once deposits are accepted, they will be assigned a patent accession number.     

The address for shipping to NCMA is:

    NCMA Curator - Patent Deposit
    National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota
    Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
    60 Bigelow Drive
    East Boothbay, ME 04544
    Phone: (001) 207-315-2567 x1


Payment & Viability Testing

 Following BP/1 or BP/AF1 acceptance, receipt of material and assigning of an patent accession number, NCMA will invoice the depositor through its e-commerce platform.  NCMA will also issue the depositor official deposit ‘receipt’(s) (Form BP/4), confirming the date that deposits have been received in acceptable condition and all relevant patent accession number(s).  We expect depositors to pay open invoices in a timely manner, unless other arrangements have been discussed. NCMA will commence viability testing using accepted procedures based on the material, and furnish the depositor’s first viability statement(s) (Form BP/9) when completed.  The first viability test and statement (per deposit) are included within the depositor’s original per strain deposit fee.  Any additional viability tests will be conducted at the depositor’s request and invoiced accordingly (see below).  NCMA will hold the depositor’s deposit(s) at either liquid nitrogen vapor temperatures, -20 ◦C, or 4 ◦C depending upon the material and needs of the depositor for 30 + 5 years. 


Schedule of fees 

    Plant tissue, microbes, algae, etc.
    • $3,000 for all material above proven to be storable and able to be reanimated from frozen storage.  Fee includes tissue preparation* (in the case of plant tissue), initial basic viability testing (Evan’s Blue, cell count, etc.), and storage, frozen or lyophilized for 30 + 5 years.
    • For those materials that have not been proven to be stored and reanimated from long-term frozen storage, for a fee ($1,000-1,500 / strain, we will do preliminary tests to test feasibility of cold storage and reanimation.
    • $500 for an additional viability statement
    • $200 for furnishing of deposited material
    • $175 additional service charge for furnishing deposited plant tissue as live nodes on agar  
    • $25,000 for perpetual culturing for 30 + 5 years (includes first viability statement) 
    Crop Seeds
    • $1,500 for initial basic viability testing and storage for 30 + 5 years
    • $500 for an additional viability statement
    • $200 for furnishing of deposited material 

    *Preparation involves excising meristematic tissue from plantlets or culturing callus tissue.  Working with baby plants in soil might require additional fee; case by case.  

    Requests for Release of Material under Patent Deposit 

    NCMA keeps all information about patent deposits confidential, and prior to issuance of patent by an IPO only releases material in accordance with the requirements of the patenting process.

    Budapest Treaty deposits 

    Every time a sample of biological material is released, the original depositor will be officially notified of the name and address of the recipient(s) of any distributions.  Biological material is distributed to those entitled to receive them under Rule 11 of the Treaty, specifically the following:

    • Before issuance of a patent, the patent office(s) with which your application has been filed can formally request distribution (Rule 11.1). BP10
    • At any time, anyone having the original depositors specific written authorization can receive a distribution (11.2). BP11
    • After issuance of a patent, anyone legally entitled, can make a distribution request according to Rule 11.3a, by completing the form found here BP12, and return the form to the NCMA PatentDeposit@bigelow.org. For this distribution, incontrovertible evidence that the patent has been issued and the appropriate patent accession number are required before a sample is released.