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

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Sumitomo plant protection reference: it's all a question of timing

Case C-210/12 Sumitomo Chemical is a reference for a preliminary ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union. The referring court is the German Bundespatentgericht, which wishes to obtain the guidance of the CJEU on the following questions relating to SPCs for plant protection products:
"1. Is Article 3(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1610/96 ... concerning the creation of a supplementary protection certificate for plant protection products to be interpreted as not precluding the grant of a supplementary protection certificate for a plant protection product if a valid marketing authorisation was granted in accordance with Article 8(4) of Directive 91/414/EEC?

2. If Question 1 is answered in the affirmative:

Is it necessary under Article 3(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1610/96 for the marketing authorisation to be still in force at the time of application for the Certificate?

3. If the answer to Question 1 is in the negative:

Is Article 7(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1610/96 to be interpreted as meaning that an application can be lodged even before the period mentioned in that provision starts to run?"
If you have any comments on this reference which you would like to share with the British government, you are invited to email policy@ipo.gsi.gov.uk before 22 June 2012 -- that's this Friday.

If you have any interesting background information concerning this reference, do feel free to share it with us!

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