The Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure (1977) establishes an international regime for the recognition of microorganism deposits for patent purposes in any ´International Depository Authority´ (IDA), which are located only in countries that are signatories to the treaty.
In other words, a filing in an IDA is valid for all signatory countries, regardless of whether that IDA is located inside the territory where the patent application is being filed.
Some short background
The Treaty has been in force since 1977 and currently has 89 signatory countries, including the European Patent Office (EPO), the Eurasian Patent Organization (EAPO), the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO).
As per the treaty, an IDA involves scientific institution, capable of storing microorganisms. To obtain such status, the contracting State where the IDA is located will provide necessary assurances to WIPO to the effect that the institution complies and will continue to comply with requirements of the Treaty.
The Treaty makes the patent system more attractive since the applicant can make various applications in contracting jurisdictions based on a deposit in an IDA, thus saving significant time and costs. The system also increases the security for the applicant because it establishes a uniform system of deposit, recognition and furnishing of samples of microorganisms.
The Treaty of Budapest in Brazil
The discussion regarding Brazil´s accession to the treaty goes back more than 20 years, with a major point of discussion being the accreditation of Brazilian Institutions as IDA´s under the Treaty. Leading national institutions such as Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (Cenargen), Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), among others, are seen as the potential bodies to fill these positions.
As Brazil is still not a member of the Treaty today, a Brazilian applicant currently needs to send biological material related to patent applications to a recognized institution abroad, bearing significant burden in terms of time and cost.
However, major steps have recently been taken by the Brazilian institutions towards accession to the Treaty. Draft bill 466/22, proposing the countries accession, is currently being considered by the Brazilian legislature and is now pending only a single processing phase in the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies. It is likely that the Bill will soon be forwarded to the Senate for voting.
Once the country has acceded to the Treaty, the government will be able to request that the chosen institutions be recognized as IDA’s, the outcome of which could be extremely important for both Brazil and Latin America.
As discussed above, the signing of the Budapest Treaty will represent a significant step for Brazil in terms of Innovation in the biotechnology area. The accession to the Treaty is an objective expressly set out in the country´s National Intellectual Property System (ENPI), which aims to stimulate creativity and investments in innovation to promote competitiveness and socioeconomic development in Brazil.
Moreover, the move will bring a significant reduction in terms of costs and bureaucracy for users of the Brazilian patent system.
With Brazil becoming only the second country with an IDA in Latin America (the other is Chile), the country could end up playing a major role for the region in terms of deposits of biological material.
We will keep you up to date. In the meantime, if you have any questions or would like to get more information, do not hesitate to get in touch with our team.