1. The files relating to EU trade mark applications which have not yet been published shall not be made available for inspection without the consent of the applicant.
2. Any person who can prove that the applicant for an EU trade mark has stated that after the trade mark has been registered he will invoke the rights under it against him may obtain inspection of the files prior to the publication of that application and without the consent of the applicant.
3. Subsequent to the publication of the EU trade mark application, the files relating to such application and the resulting trade mark may be inspected on request.
4. Where the files are inspected pursuant to paragraph 2 or 3 of this Article, documents relating to exclusion or objection pursuant to Article 169, draft decisions and opinions, and all other internal documents used for the preparation of decisions and opinions, as well as parts of the file which the party concerned showed a special interest in keeping confidential before the request for inspection of the files was made, unless inspection of such parts of the file is justified by overriding, legitimate interests of the party seeking inspection, may be withheld from inspection.
5. Inspection of the files of EU trade mark applications and of registered EU trade marks shall be of the original document, or of copies thereof, or of technical means of storage if the files are stored in this way. The Executive Director shall determine the means of inspection.
6. Where inspection of files takes place as provided for in paragraph 7, the request for inspection of the files shall not be deemed to have been made until the required fee has been paid. No fee shall be payable if inspection of technical means of storage takes place online.
7. Inspection of the files shall take place at the premises of the Office. On request, inspection of the files shall be effected by means of issuing copies of file documents. The issuing of such copies shall be conditional on the payment of a fee. The Office shall also issue on request certified or uncertified copies of the application for an EU trade mark upon payment of a fee.
8. The files kept by the Office relating to international registrations designating the Union may be inspected on request as from the date of publication referred to in Article 190(1), in accordance with the conditions laid down in paragraphs 1, 3 and 4 of this Article.
9. Subject to the restrictions provided for in paragraph 4, the Office may, on request, communicate information from any file of an EU trade mark applied for or of a registered EU trade mark, subject to payment of a fee. However, the Office may require the exercise of the option to obtain inspection of the file itself should it deem this to be appropriate in view of the quantity of information to be supplied.