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The European Patent Convention

 
 

Rule 33[ 33 ]
Availability of biological material

(1)
Biological material deposited in accordance with Rule 31 shall be available upon request to any person from the date of publication of the European patent application and to any person having the right to inspect the files under Article 128, paragraph 2, prior to that date. Subject to Rule 32, such availability shall be effected by the issue of a sample of the biological material to the person making the request (hereinafter referred to as "the requester").
(2)
Said issue shall be made only if the requester has undertaken vis-à-vis the applicant for or proprietor of the patent not to make the biological material or any biological material derived therefrom available to any third party and to use that material for experimental purposes only, until such time as the patent application is refused or withdrawn or deemed to be withdrawn, or before the European patent has expired in all the designated States, unless the applicant for or proprietor of the patent expressly waives such an undertaking. 
The undertaking to use the biological material for experimental purposes only shall not apply in so far as the requester is using that material under a compulsory licence. The term "compulsory licence" shall be construed as including ex officio licences and the right to use patented inventions in the public interest. 
(3)
For the purposes of paragraph 2, derived biological material shall mean any material which still exhibits those characteristics of the deposited material which are essential to carrying out the invention. The undertaking under paragraph 2 shall not impede any deposit of derived biological material necessary for the purpose of patent procedure.
(4)
The request referred to in paragraph 1 shall be submitted to the European Patent Office on a form recognised by that Office. The European Patent Office shall certify on the form that a European patent application referring to the deposit of the biological material has been filed, and that the requester or the expert nominated by him under Rule 32 is entitled to the issue of a sample of that material. After grant of the European patent, the request shall also be submitted to the European Patent Office.
(5)
The European Patent Office shall transmit a copy of the request, with the certification provided for in paragraph 4, to the depositary institution and to the applicant for or the proprietor of the patent.
(6)
The European Patent Office shall publish in its Official Journal the list of depositary institutions and experts recognised for the purpose of Rules 31 to 34.
 
See notice from the EPO concerning inventions which involve the use of or concern biological material (OJ EPO 2010, 498).
References

Art. 78, 83, 128, 129
R. 26, 34

 
Cross-reference list
EPC EPC 1973
R. 33R. 28(3), (6), (7), (8), (9)