Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Patenting the fruits of biotechnological research often involves problems unique to that scientific field, especially when the resulting inventions employ micro-organisms that cannot be described easily because of their novelty to the field. The importance of satisfactorily resolving these problems increases because most developed states now allow biotech inventors to patent the novel organism itself. In response to the concern that words are often inadequate to identify completely these microbes, states began allowing biotech patent applicants to deposit a sample culture of the novel micro-organism as a supplement to the written description. This Note addresses the shortcomings of the deposit requirement due, in part, to its nonuniform development among developed states. The Note begins by following the development of the requirement in the United States, certain European states, and the European Patent Convention. The Note also addresses the genesis of patenting the micro-organisms themselves and the various attempts at solving the attendant problems of deposit. The Note concludes by evaluating the current situation and proposing some potential solutions.