Sociology Index

Supplementary Protection Certificate

Intellectual Property Rights

A supplementary protection certificate (SPC) is an intellectual property right similar to a patent available in European Union member countries. Supplementary protection certificate is available for medicinal products, such as drugs, and plant protection products, such as insecticides, and herbicides. Supplementary protection certificates compensate for the long time needed to obtain regulatory approval of such products. A supplementary protection certificate has a maximum life time of 5 years and comes into force only after the corresponding patent expires. The market exclusivity cannot exceed 15 years. It may be viewed as an extension of life time of a patent, though there is variation in rights.

Seperate applications for a supplementary protection certificate must be filed for each country. The term of a supplementary protection certificate depends on the date of issuance of the first market authorisation within the EEA:

  1. If the first market authorisation is issued less than five years after the filing date of the corresponding patent, no supplementary protection certificate is granted.
  2. If the first market authorisation is issued more than five years but less than ten years after the filing date of the corresponding patent, a supplementary protection certificate is granted for a term corresponding to the period elapsed between the five-year point and the market authorisation issuance date.
  3. If the first market authorisation is issued more than ten years after the filing date of the corresponding patent, a supplementary protection certificate is granted for a five-year term.