The supplementary protection certificate is an industrial property certificate that, for a maximum of five years, gives the protection conferred by a patent to an active ingredient or a combination of active ingredients which are found in a pharmaceutical or phytosanitary product after the patent has expired.

Before being placed on the market, pharmaceutical or phytosanitary products must obtain commercial authorisation, the processing of which can reduce the effective term of the protection offered by the patent. The supplementary protection certificate (SPC) is intended to compensate for this reduction in the effective protection term.

An SPC confers the same rights as the patent and protects pharmaceutical and phytosanitary products that, having previously been protected by a basic patent, have received commercial authorisation, as well as authorisation for any use of the product while the SPC is in effect. The SPC comes into effect when the patent expires.