Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPC) gives the patent owner an extra or prolonged degree of patent protection where the patent owner has not been able to exploit their patent right fully over the duration of that grant. The rational for this lengthened period of protection is underpinned by the fact that in order to be granted a patent this involves a detailed assessment not only from your solicitor or attorney but also from the examiner to whom you are applying.
The result of this detailed assessment is that it may take many years to obtain patent protection and those years could be spent marketing a product which is yet to obtain patent protection. In attempting to solve this issue the Commission issued two Council Regulations, the first was in relation to the law that regulated SPCs for medicinal products and the other was in relation to products that concerned plant protection.
SPC are narrower in application than that which is provided under a patent.
When does a SPC kick-in?
The SPC will kick-in once the patent to which that SPC relates has expired provided that patent has been sufficiently maintained during and up until the potential term ends: Article 13 (medicinal) and Article 13 (Plant protection).
The next article from this author will be in relation the application of a SPC.