Supplementary Protection Certificates - Basics

The term of a patent is a maximum of 20 years from the filing date. However, due to time-consuming approval procedures required by law for human and animal pharmaceutical products and plant protection products, a significant part of the patent term may be lost.

This means that a patent proprietor cannot fully exploit the patent. In such cases, the legislator provides compensation in the form of Supplementary Protection Certificates.

In the countries of the European Union (EU), a Supplementary Protection Certificate extends the term of patent protection by a maximum of 5 years. The additional protection does not extend to the entire patent, but only to market-approved products. If the patent proprietor additionally conducts recognized studies for pediatric pharmaceutical products, the protection can be extended by another six months (known as pediatric extension).

It is possible to request Supplementary Protection Certificates in almost every European country, the USA, Japan and a number of other countries. However, the requirements for an extension of the term vary significantly in every country.