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Supplementary protection certificate for plant protection products

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Supplementary protection certificate for plant protection products

The European Union is stepping up safeguards for plant protection research and innovation. It is creating a supplementary protection certificate for plant protection products granted marketing authorisation. This certificate can be obtained by the holder of a national or European patent under the same conditions in each Member State.


Regulation (EC) No 1610/96 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the creation of a supplementary protection certificate for plant protection products *


The Regulation defines the characteristics of the supplementary protection certificate * and lays down the conditions for obtaining a certificate.

The certificate is issued for:

  • any product protected by a basic patent * in force;
  • any plant protection product that has been granted marketing authorisation (this must be the first marketing authorisation) in accordance with Directive 91/414/EEC or an earlier provision of national law;
  • any product that has not already been the subject of a certificate.

The certificate confers the same rights as those conferred by the basic patent and is subject to the same limitations and obligations.

The certificate is granted to the holder of the basic patent or his successor in title.

The application for a certificate must be lodged:

  • within six months of the date on which marketing authorisation was granted for the plant protection product;
  • with the competent industrial property office of the Member State which granted the basic patent or on whose behalf it was granted and in which the marketing authorisation was obtained.

The Regulation provides for publication of the fact that the certificate has been granted.

Member States may require that the certificate be subject to the payment of annual fees.

The duration of the certificate may not exceed five years from the date on which it takes effect.

The certificate lapses:

  • on expiry of its period of validity;
  • if the certificate-holder surrenders it;
  • if the annual fee is not paid in time;
  • if the marketing authorisation is withdrawn.

The certificate is invalid if:

  • it was granted contrary to the provisions set out above;
  • the basic patent has lapsed before its lawful term expires;
  • the basic patent is revoked or limited.

Any person may submit an application or bring an action for the certificate to be declared invalid.

Key terms used in the act

  • Plant protection products: active substances and preparations containing one or more active substances which do one or more of the following:
  • a) protect plants or plant products against all harmful organisms or prevent the action of such organisms;
  • b) influence the life processes of plants, other than as a nutrient (e.g. plant growth regulators);
  • c) preserve plant products, in so far as such substances or products are not subject to special provisions on preservatives;
  • d) destroy undesirable plants; or
  • e) destroy parts of plants, check or prevent undesirable growth of plants.
  • Active substances: substances or micro-organisms including viruses having general or specific action against harmful organisms or on plants, parts of plants or plant products.
  • Basic patent: a patent which protects a product, a preparation, a process to obtain a product or an application of a product, and which is designated by its holder for the purpose of the procedure for grant of a supplementary protection certificate.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1610/96



OJ L 198 of 08.08.1996

Last updated: 29.04.2005