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Patent deposits

NCTC and ECACC are long established International Depository Authorities (IDAs) for the deposit of pathogenic bacteria, cell lines and viruses for the purposes of patenting under the Budapest Treaty.  

NCTC accepts bacteria (including ACDP Hazard Group 3) as patent deposits. The bacteria can be preserved by freeze-drying without significant change to their properties and should be free-living and grow on ordinary laboratory culture media.

ECACC accepts human and animal cell lines including genetically modified lines up to GMO2, hybridomas and eukaryotic DNA as patent deposits. ECACC also accepts viruses, including ACDP Hazard Group 3 pathogens and viral recombinant DNA either as naked DNA or cloned into a host. The viruses are processed on behalf of ECACC by the National Collection of Pathogenic Viruses (NCPV) which is operated under the same management structure as ECACC and NCTC.

As IDAs, NCTC and ECACC are required to provide services on the same terms to every depositor. We will accept and store microorganisms deposited with us for the full period specified in the Treaty (at least 30 years or five years after the most recent request for a sample whichever is the later). Furthermore, we will release (furnish) samples of deposited microorganisms only to those entitled to receive them.

Every deposit is strictly confidential until the relevant patent is issued. It is assigned a unique accession number on arrival at NCTC or ECACC.  Accession numbers are provisional until the patent has proved viable and a pure culture (NCTC) or passed QC testing (ECACC).


How to submit patent deposits

Please follow the instructions to complete and submit the the patent deposit forms.



Our current prices:

NCTC Patent Depository


Bacterial strain


Issue of a Viability Statement (Rule 10.2)

 £80 per statement

Supply (furnishing) of a bacterial patent deposit (excluding delivery)

 £80 per ampoule

30-year declaration for already-deposited Collection bacterial strains

 £70 per declaration

ECACC Patent Depository


Cell line






Supply (furnishing) of a patent deposit (excluding delivery)


Unsuccessful patent deposits are subject to a fee to cover quality control and administration

Price on application


Guidelines for acceptance of patent deposits

Ensure to read our guidelines for acceptance of patent deposits here.


Release of patent deposits (furnishing)

Once a certificate of acceptance of a patent deposit has been issued, the deposit can be released to the depositor, or to a third party, provided certain release conditions are met, as per Rule 11 of the Budapest Treaty. Release conditions include either authorisation from the depositor or completion of the relevant European Patent Office (EPO) release forms which NCTC and ECACC are able to provide.

The depositor is kept informed of any applications for the furnishing of a patent at all times. However, for patents published in the USA/Canada, EPO authorisation may not be required if documentary evidence for the publishing of the patent is available. If this evidence is not available then authorisation from the EPO should be sought.

When the conditions for release have been met, the samples requested can be dispatched.

The format for furnished products depends on the recipient’s requirements:

  • NCTC patents are furnished frozen or freeze-dried, depending on the format deposited by the customer. NCTC can also provide a custom freeze-drying service for those who would like to preserve their frozen strains in the freeze-dried format
  • ECACC will dispatch cultures either in a frozen format or as a growing culture following 2-3 passages in the serum used routinely in the  ECACC laboratory

Note: For dispatch to the USA/Canada and Australia/New Zealand an Import Permit may be required due to the nature of the materials. For dispatch of hazardous pathogens outside the EU an export licence may be required at an additional cost.


QC testing of patent deposits

Upon successful completion of the Quality Control (QC) testing the patent depositor is issued with a Certificate of Acceptance confirming the date the deposit was received. The depositor will be informed if the patent fails the QC tests.

Depending on the type of patent deposit the following QC tests are performed on one of the 12 deposited ampoules:

Type of patent deposit

QC test 

Human cell line

Animal cell line

Hybridoma cell line

  • cell count

  • viability check


  • viability of virus patent checked according to instructions provided by the depositor on the patent deposit form


  • viability check

  • purity check

Plasmid DNA

Naked DNA

  • purity and condition check – DNA is assessed by agarose gel electrophoresis


Remember: A patent deposit cannot be accepted unless 12 identical ampoules prepared from a single batch are supplied.


Patent Deposit Submission Forms

Patent Deposit Submission Form - Bacteria

Patent Deposit Submission Form - Cell Lines and Hybridomas

Patent Deposit Submission Form - Viruses

Patent Deposit Submission Form - Recombinant DNA