Patent protection for an invention is valid for 20 years from the filing date of the patent application. For medicinal products for the treatment of humans and animals, as well as many agricultural chemicals used as plant protection products, a marketing authorization must be obtained. This procedure is independent from the procedure for the grant of patent. However, patent holders for pharmaceuticals or plant protection products, although they have a patent for their product, cannot use it commercially before the marketing authorization has been obtained. This procedure may last for years.
In the case of patents for pharmaceuticals or plant protection products, the duration of protection can be extended for up to five years. This extension of patent protection is called supplementary protection certificate (SPC). The purpose of the SPC is to allow proportional compensation to the patent holder for the time that elapses between the date of filing the patent application and the date when the first marketing authorization in the Republic of Serbia is granted, which is the first day when the patent holder can actually offer his product on the Serbian market.
SPCs refer to the active substance or combination of active substances protected by a patent valid in the Republic of Serbia, which has obtained the marketing license issued by the Medicines and Medical Devices Agency of Serbia (ALIMS), or the Plant Protection Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Waterworks of the Republic of Serbia.
SPCs do not prolong the basic patent as such, but it refers to the protection according to the patent exclusively for the certain product included in the marketing license for a certain pharmaceutical or plant protection product.