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.

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 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, may 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).

On request, the EPO issues certified copies of documents contained in the files or of other documents (see A‑XI, 5).

The fees 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 (www.epo.org).

An administrative fee, if any, falls due when the request is received. Any costs incurred will be charged to the requester. 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).

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