25 CFR 517.7 - Confidential commercial information.
(a)Notice to submitters. The FOIA Officer shall, to the extent permitted by law, provide a submitter who provides confidential commercial information to the FOIA Officer, with prompt notice of a FOIA request or administrative appeal encompassing the confidential commercial information if the Commission may be required to disclose the information under the FOIA. Such notice shall either describe the exact nature of the information requested or provide copies of the records or portions thereof containing the confidential commercial information. The FOIA Officer shall also notify the requester that notice and an opportunity to object has been given to the submitter.
(b)Where notice is required. Notice shall be given to a submitter when:
(1) The information has been designated by the submitter as confidential commercial information protected from disclosure. Submitters of confidential commercial information shall use good faith efforts to designate, either at the time of submission or a reasonable time thereafter, those portions of their submissions they deem protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA because disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause substantial competitive harm. Such designation shall be deemed to have expired ten years after the date of submission, unless the requester provides reasonable justification for a designation period of greater duration; or
(2) The FOIA Officer has reason to believe that the information may be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA.
(c)Opportunity to object to disclosure. The FOIA Officer shall afford a submitter a reasonable period of time to provide the FOIA Officer with a detailed written statement of any objection to disclosure. The statement shall specify all grounds for withholding any of the information under any exemption of the FOIA, and if Exemption 4 applies, shall demonstrate the reasons the submitter believes the information to be confidential commercial information that is exempt from disclosure. Whenever possible, the submitter's claim of confidentiality shall be supported by a statement or certification by an officer or authorized representative of the submitter. In the event a submitter fails to respond to the notice in the time specified, the submitter will be considered to have no objection to the disclosure of the information. Information provided by the submitter that is received after the disclosure decision has been made will not be considered. Information provided by a submitter pursuant to this paragraph may itself be subject to disclosure under the FOIA.
(d)Notice of intent to disclose. The FOIA Officer shall carefully consider a submitter's objections and specific grounds for nondisclosure prior to determining whether to disclose the information requested. Whenever the FOIA Officer determines that disclosure is appropriate, the FOIA Officer shall, within a reasonable number of days prior to disclosure, provide the submitter with written notice of the intent to disclose which shall include a statement of the reasons for which the submitter's objections were overruled, a description of the information to be disclosed, and a specific disclosure date. The FOIA Officer shall also notify the requester that the requested records will be made available.
(e)Notice of lawsuit. If the requester files a lawsuit seeking to compel disclosure of confidential commercial information, the FOIA Officer shall promptly notify the submitter of this action. If a submitter files a lawsuit seeking to prevent disclosure of confidential commercial information, the FOIA Officer shall notify the requester.
(f)Exceptions to the notice requirements under this section. The notice requirements under paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section shall not apply if:
(1) The FOIA Officer determines that the information should not be disclosed pursuant to Exemption 4 and/or any other exemption of the FOIA;
(2) The information lawfully has been published or officially made available to the public;
(3) Disclosure of the information is required by law (other than the FOIA);
(4) The information requested is not designated by the submitter as exempt from disclosure in accordance with this part, when the submitter had the opportunity to do so at the time of submission of the information or within a reasonable time thereafter, unless the agency has substantial reason to believe that disclosure of the information would result in competitive harm; or
(5) The designation made by the submitter in accordance with this part appears obviously frivolous. When the FOIA Officer determines that a submitter was frivolous in designating information as confidential, the FOIA Officer must provide the submitter with written notice of any final administrative disclosure determination within a reasonable number of days prior to the specified disclosure date, but no opportunity to object to disclosure will be offered.