New sequence listing standard ST.26: an update on practical advice for European divisional applications
The European Patent Office (EPO) has changed its approach to how it handles sequence listings for new European divisional applications that are derived from parent applications filed before 01 July 2022.
From 30 November 2023, an ST.25-compliant sequence listing filed as a PDF “safeguard” with the divisional application will no longer incur additional page fees. The change in practice is summarised below.
European patent applications filed on or after 01 July 2022, and containing nucleotide or amino acid sequences, must contain a sequence listing conforming to World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Standard ST.26. This standard applies to European divisional applications even where the earlier application was filed before 01 July 2022.
It is therefore necessary to convert the original ST.25 sequence listing to the new ST.26 format when filing a European divisional application. However, there exists a number of scenarios where conversion of the original ST.25 sequence listing could potentially result in the addition or deletion of subject matter. Examples of this can be found in our article: New sequence listing standard ST.26: practical advice for European divisional applications.
New sequence listing standard ST.26: practical advice for European divisional applicationsRead more
In order to mitigate this risk, the EPO permits, as a safeguard, the filing of the original ST.25 sequence listing as a PDF as part of the European divisional application. However, previously, the pages of the PDF version of the ST.25 sequence listing were taken into account when calculating the excess page fee (that is, the additional fee for pages in excess of 35). This could incur high costs for European divisional applications with long sequence listings.
Under the new practice, these pages are excluded from the page fee calculation, provided the original ST.25 sequence listing is filed as a separate part of the description as a PDF, and the sequence listing of the earlier application complies with the ST.25 standard. If the sequence information is reproduced in the description in a manner that is not standard-compliant (for example, as a table) the pages concerned will be taken into account in the calculation of the excess page fees.
This new practice applies from 30 November 2023, to all European divisional applications for which the page fee has not yet been paid. Page fees already paid for pages of sequence listings not complying with WIPO Standard ST.26 will not be refunded.
D Young & Co has a dedicated sequence listing team that regularly prepares sequence listings, and we have updated our internal practices as necessary.
Please contact your usual D Young & Co representative if you have any questions.