5. Applications relating to nucleotide and amino acid sequences
If nucleotide and amino acid sequences within the meaning of Rule 30(1) are disclosed in the European patent application, they are to be represented in a sequence listing which complies with WIPO Standard ST.26 conforms to the applicable WIPO standard. Each nucleotide or amino acid sequence which extends over the minimum length as defined in the standard and which is disclosed in the application documents (including drawings) needs to be listed in the sequence listing, even if the sequence is only a fragment of another disclosed sequence. The sequence listing should, where it is filed together with the application, be placed at the end of the application. The sequence listing must be filed in electronic form, i.e. in XML format as required under WIPO Standard ST.26. Where the European patent application is filed online, the electronic sequence listing in the required format is to be attached. The sequence listing must not be filed on paper or in PDF format. However, if it is, the sequence listing on paper or in PDF format must be identical to that in electronic format. In this case, the applicant or the appointed representative must submit a statement of identity, even though the sequence listing on paper or in PDF format will be disregarded in the further procedure. Nonetheless, if two or more sequence listings are filed on the filing date, only the standard-compliant sequence listing will be used as the basis for the search. See the decision of the President of the EPO dated 28 April 2011, 9 December 2021, OJ EPO 2021, A96, OJ EPO 2011, 372, and the notice from the EPO dated 18 October 2013, 9 December 2021, OJ EPO 2021, A97 OJ EPO 2013, 542.
Attention is drawn to new WIPO Standard ST.26 for sequence listings that will apply to applications filed on and after 1 July 2022. Detailed information on the changes in practice required by this new standard will be published in the Official Journal of the EPO well in advance.
Where a sequence listing is filed or corrected after the filing date, the applicant is required to submit a statement that the sequence listing so filed or corrected does not include matter which goes beyond the content of the application as filed. Sequence Standard-compliant sequence listings filed subsequent to the date of filing, i.e. in reply to the invitation under Rule 30(3), are not part of the description and, therefore, not published with the European patent application. Whenever a sequence listing that is part of the description is corrected or amended, a complete new sequence listing must be filed. The corrected or amended sequence listing must comply with the applicable WIPO standard, which depends on the application's date of filing. For applications filed on or after 1 July 2022, sequence listings must comply with WIPO Standard ST.26. For applications filed before that date, the sequence listing must comply with WIPO Standard ST.25.
For applications referring to sequences which belong to the prior art see F‑II, 6.1.
For the purposes of publication and file inspection, standard-compliant sequence listings submitted on the date of filing in TXT format are converted by the EPO. If, due to its excessive volume, a sequence listing cannot be included in the electronic file in converted form, the electronic file will refer to this technical limitation and to the option of obtaining a copy of the sequence listing in electronic form on written request (see the Notice from the EPO dated 18 October 2013, OJ EPO 2013, 542, and the Decision of the President of the EPO dated 28 April 2011, OJ EPO 2011, 372).
The Receiving Section will inform the applicant of any deficiencies as to the sequence listing or as to the necessary statements and issue an invitation to remedy the deficiencies and pay a late furnishing fee within a non-extendable period of two months. The late furnishing fee compensates for the administrative efforts of issuing the communication under Rule 30(3) and delaying the transmission of the application to the search division until after availability of a standard-compliant sequence listing. The late furnishing fee therefore does not have to be paid if the standard-compliant sequence listing is filed after the date of filing but before the Receiving Section has issued the communication under Rule 30(3). If the requirements of Rule 30 in conjunction with the decision of the President of the EPO dated 28 April 2011 9 December 2021 are not complied with in due time, where appropriate following the invitation to do so from the Receiving Section, which includes the payment of the late furnishing fee, the application will be refused according to Rule 30(3). This also applies if a sequence listing is subsequently filed in the required electronic format but still contains deficiencies with respect to the Standard. Such deficiencies will not prompt the EPO to issue another invitation under Rule 30(3), triggering a new period of two months, unless the previous invitation did not draw the applicant's attention to such remaining deficiencies (see J 7/11).