Last week, the EU Commission published a new call for tender for a legal study on the EU system of Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs), after the previous tender attracted a very limited number of bids.
This study will be used by the Commission for an overall evaluation of the SPC system in the EU and will inform the decision on whether to come forward with a new SPC title at European level or revise the existing SPC legislation.
A number of issues have in fact been raised regarding SPCs and their compatibility with the unitary patent and the unified patent court (see below for our existing posts on this issue). The pharmaceutical industry has for example highlighted the fact that while the unitary patent will be delivered for all the contracting member states by the EPO, SPCs will be granted in each Member State in which the basic patent was granted and the MA obtained, after filing at the national industrial property office. The SPC and its corresponding unitary patent will thus not have the same territorial scope. Similarly, the opt-out might be logistically complicated as all the proprietors of both the EP and the SPC must register the opt-out for it to be valid.
The contracted study shall thus evaluate the legal efficiency of the current SPC framework “in meeting its stated objectives given the development of directly affected and related product markets” and whether a new European SPC title is required to meet the requirements of current and expected innovative market developments in the EU.
The results of this study are expected at the beginning of 2017.
If you are interested in this call, you can find here the complete tender documents.