Inspection of the files of European patent applications and of European patents is granted in respect of the original documents or of copies thereof or, if the files are stored on other media, in respect of these media. All parts of the file compiled when conducting the examination, opposition and appeal procedure with the parties are open for inspection, subject to the restrictions mentioned below (see A‑XI, 2.3). It also includes information on the dates of the start of search and examination, any invitations under Rule 63(1) or Rule 62a(1) and the search opinion if applicable.
Observations by third parties (Art. 115) are an integral part of the files and as such are open to inspection in accordance with Art. 128. If a third party asks that his observations or a part thereof be treated confidentially, that request cannot be granted and the third party will be notified accordingly (see E‑VI, 3).
The parts of the file excluded from inspection (see A‑XI, 2.3) are kept separate from those open to inspection.