2007 Rule 51

51. Restrictions on inspection of documents

Rule 50 | Index | Rule 52

(1) For the purposes of section 118(1) the prescribed restrictions are those set out in paragraphs (2) and (3).

(2) No document may be inspected-

  • (a) where that document was prepared by the comptroller, an examiner or the Patent Office for internal use only;
  • (b) where the circumstances specified in section 118(4) exist, before the end of the period of 14 days beginning immediately after1 the date of the notification under rule 52(2);
  • (c) where that document is a request or application made under section 118 or rule 46(2), 48(2) or 54(1); or
  • (d) where that document includes matter-
    • (i) which in the comptroller's opinion disparages any person in a way likely to damage him, or
    • (ii) the inspection of which would in his opinion be generally expected to encourage offensive, immoral or anti-social behaviour.


(3) Unless in a particular case the comptroller otherwise directs, no document may be inspected-

  • (a) where that document was filed at the Patent Office in connection with an application under section 40(1) or (2) or 41(8);
  • (b) where that document is treated as a confidential document under rule 53;
  • (c) where-
    • (i) that document was prepared by the comptroller, an examiner or the Patent Office other than for internal use, and
    • (ii) it contains information which the comptroller considers should remain confidential;
  • (d) where that document relates to an international application for a patent and the International Bureau would not be permitted to allow access to that document under the Patent Co-operation Treaty; or
  • (e) where-
    • (i) the comptroller has accepted a person's application under rule 11(1)(a) or (b), and
    • (ii) that person's name and address can be identified from that document as those of the inventor or of the person believed to be the inventor (or, as the case may be, his address can be so identified).


(4) In this rule references to a document include part of a document.

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