From ST.25 to ST.26: Small increment – big change for sequence listings
On 1 July 2022, the new WIPO Standard ST.26 on the filing of sequence listings for patent applications has entered into force. The new regulations replace the current standard ST.25 and will implement XML as the standard format for sequence listings instead of the current TXT format.
It is important to note for all applicants that no transitional period applies, so all sequence listings for e.g. international, European and US patent applications must meet the new standard from today. This applies also to PCT filings claiming priority of an earlier application with a sequence listing in ST.25 as well as for divisional applications.
Filing a sequence listing in the old standard in PCT applications cannot be subsequently changed into ST.26 format as a correction of a formality defect. Incorporating a previous ST.25 sequence listing into the description is of course possible, and will be done automatically by the EPO as receiving Office. However, this may significantly increase excess page fees and still require subsequent filing of a ST.26-compliant sequence listing. Further, the EPO as Receiving Office or designated Office will continue to require a late furnishing fee for sequence listings in the amount of EUR 245.
The new standard will furnish more detailed information to the Patent Offices and will also require applicants to use new software for creating sequence listings. The old-fashioned programs PatentIn and BiSSAP will not be updated. Instead, the WIPO provides the new software WIPO Sequence Suite. Judging from some preliminary trials, WIPO Sequence appears indeed more user-friendly.
Official information has been provided by the WIPO at https://www.wipo.int/standards/en/sequence/faq.html and by the EPO at https://www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/official-journal/2022/06/a60.html and https://www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/official-journal/2021/12/a97.html.
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