The President of the EPO determines all file inspection arrangements, including the circumstances in which an administrative fee is payable (see the decision of the President of the EPO 20 February 2019, OJ EPO 2019, A16).
As a rule, published patent applications and granted patents can be inspected free of charge online on the EPO website via the European Patent Register. In exceptional cases, and only if accompanied by a substantiated request, uncertified paper copies of files or uncertified extracts from the European Patent Register are still issued. The corresponding administrative fees have been abolished (see the notice from the EPO dated 20 February 2019, OJ EPO 2019, A15, and the decision of the President of the EPO dated 20 February 2019, OJ EPO 2019, A16)
Regarding requests to furnish certified copies of documents from the file or a certified extract from the European Patent Register, see A‑XI, 5.
With regard to the inspection of files containing high-volume sequence listings, see A‑IV, 5.