This blog post deals with the filing of sequence listings in Singapore patent applications which contain disclosures of nucleotide and amino acid sequences.
Unlike other jurisdictions, there are no provisions in Singapore legislation relating to sequence listings. How then does an applicant file a sequence listing for a biotech patent application in Singapore?
As its name implies, a “sequence listing” is simply a list of nucleic acid or polypeptide sequences disclosed in a patent specification. In a sequence listing, the sequences from the patent specification are set out in a structured format. Sequence listing are commonly filed for patents relating to biotechnological inventions.
Having a sequence listing on file allows the Search Examiner to more easily search the invention.
Sequence Listings in PCT, EP and US Applications
The requirements for the filing of sequence listings differ depending on the Office concerned. Although there is a degree of harmonization between the offices, there are also some differences in practice.
For example, under the PCT Rules, if an International (PCT) Application contains a disclosure of a nucleotide sequence or an amino acid sequence, the application is required to include a sequence listing in the description (see Rule 5.2 and Rule 13ter of the PCT Regulations).
As you might expect, the sequence listing is required to comply with a particular standard set by the World Intellectual Property Office. In this case, the relevant standard is WIPO Standard ST.25.
WIPO Standard ST.25 has the rather grand title of “Standard for the Presentation of Nucleotide and Amino Acid Sequence Listings in Patent Applications”, and is a very useful general reference we look to when preparing sequence listings.
Under the PCT Rules, the sequence listing for an International Patent Application should be set out at the end of the application (i.e., after the description, claims, abstract and drawings). The pages of the sequence listing need to be numbered as a separate series, independent of the page numbering of the description, claims and abstract.
Similar rules apply to European patent applications filed at the European Patent Office (Rule 30 EPC) and sequence listings for US patent applications filed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). These, and the specifics of the PCT Rules, are outside the scope of this blog post.
Sequence Listings in Singapore
Unlike WIPO, USPTO and the EPO, however, there are no specific provisions in the Singapore legislation which deal with the format for filing sequence listings. The Singapore Patents Act and Rules are completely silent as to how the applicant should file sequence listings.
Indeed, there is no requirement at all in the Act and Rules for sequence listings to be filed in Singapore.
We consider it good practice, however, for sequence listings to be prepared and filed, for applications which disclose nucleic acid or amino acid sequences.
IPOS advises that sequence listings should be filed as part of the “Description and Claims”. This accords with the PCT Rules, which treat the sequence listing formally as part of the description. The sequence listing may either be filed between the description and the claims, or after the claims.