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ECJ says emergency approvals not valid for SPCs

EU patent extensions cannot be granted to new agrochemicals if the application for an extension is based on an emergency marketing authorisation, says the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Furthermore, applications for extensions cannot be made before a product has obtained its first national provisional approval in the EU, it adds. The opinion relates to supplementary protection certificates (SPCs). The ECJ's view had been sought by a German court, which is considering a case brought by Sumitomo Chemical against the German patent authorities after they refused to grant an SPC for the insecticide, clothianidin, in 2006.

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