2406 Time of Making an Original Deposit
37 C.F.R. 1.804 Time of making an original deposit.
- (a) Whenever a biological material is specifically identified in an application for patent as filed, an original deposit thereof may be made at any time before filing the application for patent or, subject to § 1.809, during pendency of the application for patent.
- (b) When the original deposit is made after the effective filing date of an application for patent, the applicant must promptly submit a statement from a person in a position to corroborate the fact, stating that the biological material which is deposited is a biological material specifically identified in the application as filed.
37 CFR 1.804 specifies the time for making an original deposit to fulfill the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112. For the reasons discussed throughout this section, it is recommended that a deposit be made before the filing date of the application. However, for the purposes of complying with the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112, a deposit of a biological material may be made at any time before filing the application for patent or during the pendency of the application subject to the conditions of 37 CFR 1.809. Where a deposit is needed to satisfy the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112 and it is made during the pendency of the application, it must be made no later than the time period set by the examiner at the time the Notice of Allowance and Issue Fee Due is mailed. A necessary deposit need not be made by an applicant until the application is in condition for allowance so long as the applicant provides a written assurance that an acceptable deposit will be made on or before the payment of the issue fee. This written assurance must provide sufficiently detailed information to convince the examiner that there is no outstanding issue regarding deposits that needs to be resolved.
These rules are equally applicable in the cases of international and national stage applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty. Insofar as the rules do not permit post-issuance original deposits, the failure to make an original deposit in an application cannot be cured by filing a reissue application or instituting a reexamination proceeding. However, if an amendment of claims in a reexamination proceeding raises the need for a deposit, an original deposit may be made during the reexamination proceeding.
2406.01 Description in Application Specification
37 CFR 1.804(a) specifies not only a permissible time frame for making an original deposit, but also specifies that the biological material deposited must be specifically identified in the application for patent as filed. The requirement for a specific identification is consistent with the description requirement of the first paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112 and provides an antecedent basis for the biological material which either has been or will be deposited before the patent is granted.
The description in the Lundak application as filed (now patent 4,594,325) provides a suitable illustration of the specific identification and description which are required in an application as filed. In that application, an immortal B-cell line was disclosed and claimed. The cell line was referred to in the application, as filed, as WI-L2-729 HF2. The methods of obtaining and using this cell line were also described in the application as filed. A deposit of the cell line was made with the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) about a week after the application was filed in the United States. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that the requirements of access by the Office to a sample of the cell line during pendency, and public access after grant, were met by Lundak's procedures. The Court further held that the addition of information designating the depository, accession number, and deposit date of the deposited cell line in ATCC after the filing date did not violate the prohibition against new matter in 35 U.S.C. 132. In re Lundak, 773 F.2d 1216, 227 USPQ 90 (Fed. Cir. 1985). However, it must be clear from the application as filed that the invention claimed and described in the specification “was fully capable of being reduced to practice (i.e., no technological problems, the resolution of which would require more than ordinary skill and reasonable time, remained in order to obtain an operative, useful process).” Feldman v. Aunstrup, 517 F.2d 1351, 1355, 186 USPQ 108, 113 (CCPA 1975), cert. denied, 424 U.S. 912 (1976).
2406.02 Deposit After Filing Date - Corroboration
When the original deposit is made after the effective filing date of an application for patent, an applicant is required to promptly submit a statement from a person in a position to corroborate that the biological material which is deposited is a biological material specifically identified in the application (the filing date of which is relied upon) as filed. The nature of this corroboration will depend on the circumstances in the particular application under consideration, including the length of time between the application filing date and the date of deposit. While few, if any, situations can be imagined where the description requirement of 35 U.S.C. 112 can be satisfied where the biological material was not in existence at the time of filing, the rules will not preclude such a situation as there is no requirement in the patent law that an actual reduction to practice occur as a condition precedent to filing a patent application.
2406.03 Possible Loss of U.S. Filing Date in Other Countries
Those applicants intending to file patent applications in a country foreign to the United States relying upon biological material that must be deposited to satisfy the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112 when the application is filed in the United States are cautioned that in many countries the deposit must be made before the filing date of the priority application in order to obtain foreign priority rights. Thus, while the deposit of a biological material subsequent to the effective filing date of a United States application is sufficient to comply with 35 U.S.C. 112, an applicant may not be able to rely on the filing date of such a U.S. application if a patent is sought in certain countries foreign to the United States.