Generally speaking, patents last for 20 years from the filing date of the first patent application. While 20 years seems like a long term of protection, many years can be eaten up during patent examination proceedings. An even larger number of years can waste away as the result of the regulatory approval processes, particularly medicinal products (both human and veterinary) and plant protection products (such as pesticides and insecticides). Indeed, it is not unusual for the regulatory review processes medicinal products to last for 12 years before a product can enter the marketplace.
In order to address the lethargy in the regulatory review procedures supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) were introduced in Europe to compensate, at least in part, for the investment made in certain life sciences research areas relating to medicinal and plant products. SPC applications must be filed at each national patent office – there is no central examination authority – and although the CJEU has the ultimate right to interpret the EU SPC regulations, there is a bit of frustration with regards to differing office practices across the EU.
Join Gene Quinn, patent attorney and founder of IPWatchdog.com, for a conversation about SPCs with Louise Jonshammar, Attorney at Law with AWA, who has extensive experience in Swedish and European patent law and regulations with a specialization in European Supplementary Protection certificates and Helle Friis Svenstrup, Patent Attorney and Team Manager for AWA, who specializes in the biotechnology and life sciences fields, with a particular focus on pharmaceuticals, microbiology, immunology and molecular biology.
In addition to addressing questions from the audience, the panel will discuss:
- The scope of protection provided by SPCs
- Strategies for choosing the right patent and timing it right
- Harmonized legislation and differing practices across Europe