NCIMB Patent Deposit Service

NCIMB stores patent deposits of bacteria, fungi (including yeasts), bacteriophages, plasmids, plant seeds and plant cell tissue cutures.

Patents offer assignees exclusive rights to their inventions in exchange for detailed disclosure of the invention. In the case of inventions that are, or require the use of biological material, this involves the deposit of the biological material in a recognised institution.

NCIMB is a recognised institution for patenting purposes and holds the status of International Depositary Authority (IDA) under the Budapest Treaty:

  • This means that biological material deposited with NCIMB under the Treaty meets the deposit requirements of patent offices in all countries party to the Treaty, and it is not necessary to submit material to every national authority in which patent protection is sought.
  • A full list of countries that are party to the treaty is available on the WIPO web site www.WIPO.int
  • Patent deposits can also be made with NCIMB outside of the Budapest Treaty.

Additional services for patent depositors

NCIMB offers a next-generation sequencing (NGS) service, and we can undertake whole-genome sequencing of microbial samples deposited for patent purposes, with full genome annotation and additional bioinformatics analysis.

Whole genome sequencing is the ultimate in organism characterisation, and provides valuable information about microbial strains used in patented processes. For example, the sequence information provides provenance, and can be used to identify infringement. Please contact enquiries@ncimb.com for details.


Bacteria, fungi (including yeasts), bacteriophages and plasmids (either cloned into a bacterial host or as purified DNA preparations), including recombinants, provided that:

  • Their hazard rating and physical containment requirements are no greater than ACDP group 2 or ACGM class 1.
  • They can be preserved by freeze-drying or liquid nitrogen freezing without significant change to their properties.

Orthodox plant seeds, i.e. those that can be dried to a low moisture content and stored at temperatures lower than -20 °C without damage.

Plant cell tissue cultures: these can be deposited as active cultures, e.g. shoot tips and callous tissue, or as frozen cultures.