Insights Intellectual Property Office announces changes for patent applications with biological sequence listings


The IPO has announced that on 1 July 2022 a new standard for patent applications that include biological sequence listings will come into effect. This change is being adopted by all WIPO contracting states. It will apply to all new patent applications filed at the IPO. This includes new divisional applications and new international PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) applications.

The new standard is WIPO ST.26. In short, the new standard applies to all patent applications which include sequence listings of:

  • any nucleic acid sequences (DNA, RNA) having ten or more fully defined residues; and
  • any peptide (including cyclic peptides) sequences having four or more fully defined residues.

The new standard specifies that biological sequence listings must be in electronic XML format. Applicants can use new software, “WIPO Sequence”, to compile their sequence listings. This will generate XML files compliant with WIPOST.26. WIPO Sequence is available to download from the WIPO website.

The IPO has also published guidance on the new filing rules and is encouraging all patent applicants and attorneys to prepare for the changes early by familiarising themselves with using WIPO Sequence ahead of 1 July 2022. To access the IPO announcement and guidance, click here.