July 1, 2022 is the so-called “Big Bang” deadline for new PCT applications which disclose nucleotide and/or amino acid sequences to be filed using the new WIPO’s ST.26 Standard, rather than the previous ST.25 Standard. WIPO, or World Intellectual Property Organization, is the international agency that administers the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), and had announced way back in 2019 that the change in standards for filing sequence listings would begin in 2022. That date has now arrived.
The biggest change between ST.25 and ST.26 standards is the requirement to submit sequence listings in XML (i.e., eXtensible Markup Language) format, rather than the old TXT or text format. This is due primarily because sequence listings can be more easily uploaded to the WIPO Sequence database for searching purposes in Patentscope, WIPO’s patent search database. Sequence listings can be prepared using the WIPO Sequence Suite software, which is available on the WIPO website to download for Mac, Windows, and Linux OS systems. The Sequence software is compatible with the USPTO’s receiving databases, and easier to use than the USPTO’s clunky PatentIn program.
All new PCT applications with a filing date on or after July 1, 2022, must comply with the new ST.26 Standard. The USPTO, as a Receiving Office (RO/US) has prepared procedures for handling new PCT applications with sequence disclosures.
For more information on the ST.26 Standard, sequence listings, the PCT, or patent foreign filing in general, please contact Yonaxis I.P. Law Group.