Can you get more than one SPC per patent? The Advocate General declines to opine

The Advocate General’s opinion in Georgetown University (C-484/12) has been released. It fails to recommend whether or not more than one SPC can be granted based on the same patent. However, on the basis that only one SPC is allowed per patent, the Advocate General recommended that the patentee be able to surrender earlier SPCs in order to have a different one granted, although such surrender will not have a retrospective effect.

The reference was made by the District Court of The Hague on 12 October 2012. Georgetown University owned a patent that protected four active substances — proteins from types of human papillomavirus (HPV), namely HPV6, HPV11, HPV16 and HPV18, which could be included in vaccines. Georgetown University sought an SPC for HPV16. However, it had already obtained two SPCs in relation to this patent covering vaccines including a combination of HPV16 and HPV18 and a combination of HPV6, HPV11, HPV16 and HPV18. The Dutch Patent Office refused the application for a SPC for HPV16 on the basis that only one SPC could be granted per patent…

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