Publisher Summary In the early days of biotechnology, trade secrecy has been often considered sufficient protection for the inventor, but modern-day biotechnologists are relying more and more on the protection afforded by patents for their inventions. The ability to select and manipulate genetic material has generated heightened interest in the commercial uses of living organisms. One result of this development of biotechnology is the creation of inventions that are themselves alive. Since the landmark Chakrabarty decision, which allowed the patenting of new life forms such as microorganisms, the patent activity in the biotechnology industry has escalated rapidly. The deposition of living organisms in culture collections has helped in solving the problem of the reproducibility of the written disclosure. With this increased patent activity, culture collections have been recognized as playing a significant role in the development of modern biotechnological patent systems.