Submitted to: International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/30/1995
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: An important requirement for publishing the name of a new microorganism is that a typical living sample of the microorganism, called the type strain, must be deposited with an agency or organization, called a culture collection, which stores and distributes microorganisms. In order for the name of a new microorganism to be recognized throughout the world, live samples of the microbe must be readily available to scientists everywhere. When a microorganism is mentioned or claimed in a patent application, it also must be deposited in one of the special culture collections for patent microorganisms. Patent microorganisms are usually not freely available until the patent involving them has issued. Scientists may not be able to publish the names of new microorganisms that are also included in patent applications and have them recognized by other scientists unless special procedures are used to be sure that reference samples (type strains) of the microbes are available to all interested laboratories in the world when the name first appears in print. This article discusses procedures for making patent cultures that are type strains freely available to all scientists.
Technical Abstract: The International Code of Nomenclature of Bacteria, which includes all of the rules for naming bacterial taxa, states that a typical or type strain of a new genus, species or subspecies should be deposited with and freely available from a recognized culture collection. Problems arise from the use of microorganisms deposited in patent culture collections in association with patent applications as type reference strains, since these strains are usually not available until the patent issues, which might take months or years. At the request of the International Committee on Systematic Bacteriology, a short discussion is presented of possible problems with the use of patent strains in this manner and information is provided regarding how patent strains may be made available to the public prior to patent issue.