Supplementary Protection Certificate

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Supplementary Protection Certificates are a mechanism created by the European Union to allow for the extension of a patent’s term. In specific cases, a patenting authority may see a need for a patent to remain in force beyond the initial expiration date, and the different patent authorities have established different mechanisms to accomplish that. The United States, for example, simply extends the term of the original patent. In contrast, the European Union created the Supplementary Protection Certificate, which instead of extending the original patent document, serves as a separate legal document that creates the extension, and only commences upon expiration of the original patent. All countries in the EU are required to offer Supplementary Protection certificates, but each country requires applicants to go through a separate application process. The chief application for this instrument is in the pharmaceutical field, as the process of testing and approving a new product can squander much of the already abbreviated life of the patent.[1]

Databases that collect Supplementary Protection Certificate information include:


  1. Adams, Stephen R. Information Sources in Patents. Munich: K.G. Saur. 2006. Pgs. 26-28.

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