The Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purpose of Patent Procedure, signed on April 28, 1977, was amended on September 26, 1980. The Budapest Treaty eliminates the need to deposit microorganisms in each country where patent protection is sought.
Under the treaty, the deposit of a microorganism with an "international depositary authority" satisfies the deposit requirements of treaty members' national patent laws. An "international depositary authority" is capable of storing biological material and has established procedures that assure compliance with the Budapest Treaty. Such procedures include requirements that the deposit will remain available for the life of the patent and that samples will be furnished only to those persons or entities entitled to receive them.
The establishment of "international depositary authorities" offers several advantages to both patent applicants and contracting states. Patent applicants benefit because the need to deposit in many countries in which they seek patent protection is dramatically reduced. Since a single deposit in any "international depositary authority" will satisfy the national disclosure requirements of any member state, patent applicants' costs are much lower. Using a single authority as a deposit increases the deposit's security, and provides a mechanism of distribution of the deposit. Contracting states benefit because they can rely on the treaty's uniform standards to assure effective deposit and public availability. They no longer need to independently establish a 'recognized' depositary to meet national patentability disclosure requirements.
As of January 1, 2009, there are 72 Contracting Parties to the Budapest Treaty and 37 "international depositary authorities" in 22 different countries.