Supplementary Protection Certificates

What you need to know

Pharmaceutical products and agrochemicals are potentially allowed to benefit from an extended monopoly because they require regulatory approval which can increase the length of time that it takes for them to reach the market. This additional monopoly right is known as a Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC) (or Patent Term Extension (PTE) in the US), and comes into force after expiry of the patent on which it is based. SPCs are national rights that extend the protection afforded by a patent for the active ingredient(s) of a medicinal or plant protection product. By extending protection by up to five and a half years, SPCs are one of the most valuable forms of intellectual property.

SPCs are available in all EU (and a few other) countries. However, there is no centralised European filing procedure for SPCs; they must be filed on a country by country basis.

How we can help

We have been filing and prosecuting SPC applications since the inception of the European SPC Regulations in the 1990s. We have extensive experience in advising clients on applying for SPCs and SPC extensions, and providing strategic advice regarding SPC strategy for pharmaceutical and plant protection products based on all possible basic patents and relevant marketing authorisations.

We have a wealth of experience practicing before the UK Intellectual Property Office, which is responsible for granting SPCs in the UK. In addition, we can coordinate your SPC filing programmes through our close association with patent attorneys in other EU and EEA countries.

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