Supplementary Protection Certificates

Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs) are a commercially valuable form of intellectual property that is available for certain active ingredients of medicinal and plant protection products.

The protection provided by an SPC extends beyond the term of the patent upon which it is based.  In this respect, SPCs serve a similar purpose to Patent Term Extensions (PTEs) in other countries, such as the US.  However, SPCs have a number of unique characteristics that distinguish them from PTEs.

Due to a patchwork of legislation across Europe, SPCs come in a number of different flavours.  For example, the criteria for the grant of SPC protection differ subtly across all of the different regions (the EU and the EEA) and countries (such as the UK, Switzerland and certain non-EU Balkan states) in which SPCs are available.

The legislation governing SPCs is deceptively concise.  However, the surprising and sometimes contradictory ways in which courts have interpreted that legislation poses challenges for obtaining SPC rights, for assessing the validity or duration of such rights, and for determining the acts that might infringe such rights.  It is therefore important for those seeking to undertake any of these activities to obtain advice from IP practitioners having expertise in SPC law and practice.

Download the full briefing below.

Date Published: 11 October 2021

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