In most western countries a patent can remain valid for up to 20 years after filing of the patent application. There is also a possibility of extending the term of protection for pharmaceutical products and plant protection products by a maximum of five years by means of a Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC). Such a certificate is intended to compensate the developers of medicines who are often involved in lengthy development processes and make large investments and who sometimes only receive approval from the authorities to market their product in the final years of the duration of the patent.