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Guidelines for Examination

 
 
4.
Sequences and partial sequences of genes 

In general it is required that the description of a European patent application should, where this is not self-evident, indicate the way in which the invention is capable of exploitation in industry. The invention claimed must have such a sound and concrete technical basis that the skilled person can recognise that its contribution to the art could lead to practical exploitation in industry (see T 898/05). In relation to sequences and partial sequences of genes, this general requirement is given specific form in that the industrial application of a sequence or a partial sequence of a gene must be disclosed in the patent application. A mere nucleic acid sequence without indication of a function is not a patentable invention (EU Dir. 98/44/EC, rec. 23). In cases where a sequence or partial sequence of a gene is used to produce a protein or a part of a protein, it is necessary to specify which protein or part of a protein is produced and what function this protein or part of a protein performs. Alternatively, when a nucleotide sequence is not used to produce a protein or part of a protein, the function to be indicated could e.g. be that the sequence exhibits a certain transcription promoter activity.