After a European patent application has been published, any person may inspect and obtain information from the files relating to the application and the resultant European patent. Similarly, anybody may request the issuance of a sample of biological material in accordance with Rule 33 (see A‑IV, 4.4).[Art. 128; Rule 143; Rule 144; Rule 145; Rule 146; Art. 3(1) RFees; ]
The provisions governing inspection of files are contained in Art. 128 and Rules 144 and 145 (see A‑XI, 2); those governing communication of information are contained in Rule 146 (see A‑XI, 3). For international (PCT) applications, see E‑IX, 2.10.
The European Patent Register, containing the particulars specified in Rule 143 and accessible free of charge, can be consulted in order to ascertain the state of the proceedings and the legal status of patent rights. It also provides access to the files of published European patent applications and patents for inspection (see A‑XI, 4). The inspection of paper files on the premises of the European Patent Office was discontinued in 2007.
On request, the EPO issues certified copies of documents contained in the files or of other documents (see A‑XI, 5).
Any fees payable for any of the above services are laid down by the President pursuant to Art. 3(1) RFees and are regularly published in the Official Journal. See also the schedule of fees and expenses on the EPO website (epo.org).
An administrative fee, if any, falls due when the request is received. The methods of payment and the date on which payment is deemed to have been made are dealt with in the Rules relating to Fees (see A‑X, 2 and 4). Where the administrative fee has been duly paid, it will not be refunded (see A‑X, 10.1).
Date retrieved: 17 May 2021
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EPC Implementing Rules
EPC Rules relating to Fees
EPO Guidelines - A Formalities Examination
XGL A XI – Inspection of files; communication of information contained in files; consultation of the European Patent Register; issuance of certified copies