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 19 January 2012

"Just one SPC per patent": time for some number-crunching

Blog reader and (more significantly in this context) Netherlands Patent Office examiner Martijn de Lange offers us some real data against which to measure the impact of Court of Justice jurisprudence.  He writes:
"Your readers are probably aware of the fact that the Court of Justice of the European Union recently stated in its judgement on case C-322/10 Medeva that only one SPC can be granted per patent. In the past the Netherlands Patent Office, like other national offices, did not find it objectionable to grant multiple SPCs on the basis of the same patent. 
Out of curiosity I have collected some data from our database to determine the extent of the matter. Over the years the Netherlands Patent Office has received a total of 968 SPC applications (medicinal products and plant protection products combined). Out of those 968 applications, 205 SPC applications are without a unique basic patent: 
- 97 SPC applications were granted
- 25 SPC applications were abandoned
- 32 SPC applications were refused
- 51 SPC applications are still pending, of which eight are before the Court of the Hague after refusal by the Netherlands Patent Office 
There are 73 patents that have been used as basic patent for two or more SPCs applications: 
- 30 basic patents with two or more SPCs granted. Of those 30, 12 are no longer 'alive', i.e. the SPCs have expired or the patent and/or SPCs were nullified. 18 still concern at least one SPC that has not yet expired.
- 13 basic patents with one or more SPCs granted and one or more applications pending.
- Eight basic patents with no SPC granted and two or more applications pending. 
The rest are basic patents with one or no SPC granted and no cases pending".
This blog thanks Martijn for compiling these figures and hopes that this offering may trigger some comparative data from other offices. It would be interesting to see if there were any substantial differences, given the efforts that have gone into producing a relatively homogeneous legal and commercial environment for patent extensions in the single European market.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure everyone agrees that the CJEU said you can only get one SPC per patent. Whoever turns out to be right, what a great job the CJEU did with these references, eh? We should give it responsibility for EU patents next.

Anonymous said...

well there are certainly a number of UK SPCs where more than one has been assigned to the same patent.

One example is Pfizer's EP1255752
SPC/GB08/007 covers sunitinib while
SPC/GB10/008 covers toceranib

And there are certain antibody patents where three SPCs are associated with the single patent.