Central Electronic Deposit System for Nucleotide and Amino Acid Sequence Listings

April 7, 2003

Geneva, 04 Apr 2003

Document prepared by the International Bureau
Full text


1. At its third session, the Working Group agreed that, in order to facilitate the processing of sequence listings for the purposes of the international and the national phase of the PCT procedure, the International Bureau should further investigate the possibility of establishing a central electronic deposit system for such listings (see the summary of the session by the Chair, document PCT/R/WG/3/5, paragraph 58).

2. The Annex to this document contains proposals for amendment of the Regulations under the PCT so as to establish a central electronic deposit system for sequence listings for the purposes of disclosure of the invention and to facilitate access to deposited sequence listings by Offices and Authorities and also third parties. The main features of the proposed new system are outlined in the following paragraphs.


3. The idea of establishing a central electronic deposit system for sequence listings is not new. Previous discussions on this issue in the 1990s focused on the need to establish a data bank containing sequence listings of all published applications in a standardized form suitable for patent search purposes (the issue was discussed, for example, at the fifth session of the Meeting of International Authorities under the PCT; see document PCT/MIA/V/3, paragraphs to 32).

At that time it was envisaged that, where the International Searching Authority had received a sequence listing in computer readable form from the applicant, it would make that sequence listing available, promptly after international publication, to one of the existing sequence listing database institutions. Those institutions would then have served as data repositories for future access to the sequence listing, including by the International Preliminary Examining Authorities, designated/elected Offices and third parties. No such Authority or Office would have been entitled to ask the applicant to furnish it with a copy of the sequence listing in computer readable form where it was available from such an institution. However, the idea was not proceeded with when it was ascertained that the procedures followed by the institutions concerned did not meet certain general needs of the patent procedure (for example, in respect of guaranteeing the documentary integrity of sequence listings as originally filed).

4. In practice, the Trilateral Patent Offices, for example, systematically place sequence listings with public sequence listing database institutions: the European Patent Office with the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI); the Japan Patent Office with the DNA Databank of Japan (DDBJ); and United States Patent and Trademark Office with the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). This applies in the case of sequences disclosed in patents and published patent applications, both in national/regional applications and in international applications


World Intellectual Property Organisation

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