Safeguard measure: Excess page fees on ST.25 sequence listings included as part of a divisional application to be waived by the EPO.

Following the implementation of WIPO Sequence standard ST.26, the EPO has required that new divisional applications filed on or after 1 July 2022 require a sequence listing in the ST.26 format, even when the parent application contained an ST.25 standard compliant sequence listing. This practice has been met with concern from practitioners regarding the risk of added subject matter.

To address the concerns around the risk of adding or losing subject matter, the EPO has announced a new safeguard measure. The safeguard measure permits applicants to file the parent application's ST.25 sequence listing in PDF format as part of the divisional application. Importantly, the ST.25 pages included as a safeguard are excluded from the page fee calculation. Alternatively, the divisional application may be filed by reference to the parent application. In doing so, applicants have the guarantee that the ST.25 sequence listing, which is part of the application, does not contain any additional subject-matter. In any event, an ST.26 compliant sequence listing will still also need to be filed.

Page fees already paid for pages of sequence listings not complying with WIPO Standard ST.26 will not be refunded.

Full details are expected to be published in the November issue of the Official Journal.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.