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inventory.xml : It contains the Oracle homes that's installed and registered in this central inventory.xml.
So the process which updates the Oracle home details in the inventory takes the backup of existing inventory.xml.
In case your inventory is corrupted then previous backup may help you to identify/re-attach the ORACLE_HOME details which were registered earlier with your central inventory.
Please refer below notes for more details:
R12.2 How To Re-attach Oracle Homes To The Central Inventory (Doc ID 1586607.1)
How To Check if inventory.xml/comps.xml Or Any Oracle XML File Is Correct? (Doc ID 453399.1)
How to Find Central Inventory inventory.xml (Doc ID 1470313.1)
Hope this answers your question. Thanks!