The Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure, or Budapest Treaty, is an international treaty signed in Budapest, Hungary, on April 28, 1977. It entered into force on August 9, 1980, and was later amended on September 26, 1980. The treaty is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
As of 2013, 78 countries were party to the Budapest Treaty. The accession to the Treaty is open to States party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property of 1883. The African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ARIPO), the Eurasian Patent Organization (EAPO) and the European Patent Organisation (EPO) have filed a declaration of acceptance under Article 9(1)(a)  of the Treaty.
The treaty allows "deposits of microorganisms at an international depositary authority to be recognized for the purposes of patent procedure". Usually, in order to meet the legal requirement of sufficiency of disclosure, patent applications and patents must disclose in their description the subject-matter of the invention in a manner sufficiently clear and complete to be carried out by the person skilled in the art (see also: reduction to practice). When an invention involves a microorganism, completely describing said invention in the description to enable third parties to carry it out is usually impossible. This is why, in the particular case of inventions involving microorganisms, a deposit of biological material must be made in a recognised institution. The Budapest Treaty ensures that an applicant, i.e. a person who applies for a patent, needs not to deposit the biological material in all countries where he/she wants to obtain a patent. The applicant needs only to deposit the biological material at one recognised institution, and this deposit will be recognised in all countries party to the Budapest Treaty.
The deposits are made at an international depositary authority (IDA) in accordance with the rules of the Treaty on or before the filing date of the complete patent application. Article 7 of the Budapest treaty outlines the requirements for a facility to become an International Depositary Authority. As of March 1, 2008, there were 37 IDAs in approximately 20 countries worldwide.
Depositable subject matter
The range of materials able to be deposited under the Budapest Treaty includes:
- cells, for example, bacteria, fungi, eucaryotic cell lines, plant spores;
- genetic vectors (such as plasmids or bacteriophage vectors or viruses) containing a gene or DNA fragments;
- organisms used for expression of a gene (making the protein from the DNA).
There are many types of expression systems: bacterial; yeast; viral; plant or animal cell cultures;
- yeast, algae, protozoa, eucaryotic cells, cell lines, hybridomas, viruses, plant tissue cells, spores, and hosts containing materials such as vectors, cell organelles, plasmids, DNA, RNA, genes and chromosomes;
- purified nucleic acids; or
- deposits of materials not readily classifiable as microorganisms, such as “naked” DNA, RNA, or plasmids
- List of parties to the Budapest Treaty
- American Type Culture Collection (ATCC)
- Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures (CBS)
- Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Community (DSMZ)
- National Collection of Yeast Cultures (NCYC)
- World Federation for Culture Collections (WFCC)
- National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC)
- WIPO web site, Contracting Parties > Budapest Treaty (Total Contracting Parties : 78). Consulted on 24 April 2013.
- WIPO web site, Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure, Article 9 Intergovernmental Industrial Property Organizations
- WIPO web site, Summary of the Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure (1977), retrieved on October 21, 2008