A niche blog dedicated to the issues that arise when supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) extend patents beyond their normal life -- and to the respective positions of patent owners, investors, competitors and consumers. The blog also addresses wider issues that may be of interest or use to those involved in the extension of patent rights. You can email The SPC Blog here

Thursday 2 October 2008

SPCSs in Austria

The webpage of the Austrian Patent Office that is dedicated to Supplementary Protection Certificates is certainly an informative one -- though it strikes a somewhat gloomy note. After briefly explaining what the SPC is, it adds:

"This opportunity for extending the life-span of patents for approved pharmaceuticals in the form of a supplementary Protection Certificate was created when Austria joined the European Union in order to make the costly and protracted development of pharmaceuticals and pesticides more financially bearable".
The reader might be forgiven for assuming from the words "more financially bearable" that the SPC was more of a loss-limitation exercise than a means of making profit that a patent-originating pharmaceutical business might factor into its business plans.

The webpage then gives a list of legal provisions, with links: two EU Regulations -- Regulation (EWG) No. 1768/92 (for pharmaceuticals) and Regulation (EWG) No. 1610/96 (for pesticides), followed by Austria's Supplementary Protection Certificates Act (SchZG 1996) and Patentamtsgeb├╝hrengesetz (effective as of 1 July 2005). Neither of the EU Regulation links work. If they had done, they would have disappointed the English reader, since they would have led to the German texts of the Regulations, not the English ones.

The website also provides links to the SPC application form and guidance as to how to complete it, together with details of application and renewal fees. Visitors to the site are also advised that a Protection Certificate Register is kept by the Austrian Patent Office in which the most important data on Protection Certificates is provided. This Protection Certificate Register may be viewed by anyone. It is also possible to obtain a certified excerpt from the Register. Notes regarding Supplementary Protection Certificates are also published in the Austrian Patent Gazette.

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