An International Guide to
Patent Case Management for Judges

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11.6.7 Confidentiality – public file inspection

Files relating to the proceedings before the Boards of Appeal may be inspected on request.97 Parts of these files are excluded from public inspection, particularly the documents relating to the exclusion of or objections to members of the Boards of Appeal or of the Enlarged Board of Appeal; all draft decisions and notices and other internal preparatory documents;98 and medical certificates filed by the parties.99

Parties can request that documents be excluded from file inspection, particularly if their inspection would be prejudicial to the legitimate personal or economic interests of natural or legal persons.100 Documents may also be excluded by the Board of its own motion for the same reasons, particularly to protect the interests of third parties (i.e., natural or legal persons not parties to the proceedings, or their representatives).101

The public part of the file can be accessed online via the European Patent Register.102