Supplementary Protection Certificates
A Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC) extends the duration of the exclusive patent right, solely in respect of the product covered by the authorisation to place the corresponding medicinal or plant protection product on the market, for up to a maximum of 5 years following the expiry of the term of the basic patent.
Medicinal products, and many agricultural chemicals, require market authorisation before they can be sold commercially. Though this process is independent of the patent granting procedure, the owner of such inventions may find that though they have a patent for their product, they may still have to wait for a number of years before they obtain the necessary authorisation to market it. SPCs compensate the patentee for this loss of time, by extending the patent protection for specific products by up to five years.
An SPC does not extend the duration of the patent itself, but only the protection for the specific product subject to market authorisation.
More information on SPC’s and how to apply for an SPC can be found here