40 CFR 1601.26 - Special procedures for confidential business information.
(a) In general. Confidential business information provided to the CSB by a business submitter shall not be disclosed pursuant to a FOIA request except in accordance with this section.
(b) Designation of business information. Business submitters should use good-faith efforts to designate, by appropriate markings, either at the time of submission or at a reasonable time thereafter, those portions of their submissions which they deem to be protected under Exemption 4 of the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4). Any such designation will expire 10 years after the records were submitted to the government, unless the submitter requests, and provides reasonable justification for, a designation period of longer duration.
(c) Predisclosure notification. (1) Except as is provided for in paragraph (h) of this section, the FOIA Officer shall, to the extent permitted by law, provide a submitter with prompt written notice of a FOIA request or administrative appeal encompassing its confidential business information whenever required under paragraph (d) of this section. Such notice shall either describe the exact nature of the business information requested or provide copies of the records or portions thereof containing the business information.
(2) Whenever the FOIA Officer provides a business submitter with the notice set forth in this paragraph, the FOIA Officer shall notify the requester that the request includes information that may arguably be exempt from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA and that the person or entity who submitted the information to the CSB has been given the opportunity to comment on the proposed disclosure of information.
(d) When notice is required. The CSB shall provide a business submitter with notice of a request whenever:
(1) The business submitter has in good faith designated the information as business information deemed protected from disclosure under 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4); or
(2) The CSB has reason to believe that the request seeks business information the disclosure of which may result in substantial commercial or financial injury to the business submitter.
(e) Opportunity to object to disclosure. Through the notice described in paragraph (c) of this section, the CSB shall, to the extent permitted by law, afford a business submitter at least 10 working days within which it can provide the CSB with a detailed written statement of any objection to disclosure. Such statement shall demonstrate why the information is contended to be a trade secret or commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential and why disclosure would cause competitive harm. Whenever possible, the business submitter's claim of confidentiality should be supported by a statement or certification by an officer or authorized representative of the business submitter. Information provided by a submitter pursuant to this paragraph may itself be subject to disclosure under the FOIA.
(f) Notice of intent to disclose. (1) The FOIA Officer shall consider carefully a business submitter's objections and specific grounds for nondisclosure prior to determining whether to disclose confidential commercial business information. Whenever the FOIA Officer decides to disclose such information over the objection of a business submitter, the FOIA Officer shall forward to the business submitter a written notice at least 10 working days before the date of disclosure containing:
(i) A statement of the reasons for which the business submitter's disclosure objections were not sustained,
(ii) A description of the confidential commercial information to be disclosed, and
(iii) A specified disclosure date.
(2) Such notice of intent to disclose likewise shall be forwarded to the requester at least 10 working days prior to the specified disclosure date.
(g) Notice of FOIA lawsuit. Whenever a requester brings suit seeking to compel disclosure of confidential business information, the FOIA Officer shall promptly notify the business submitter of such action.
(h) Exceptions to predisclosure notification. The requirements of this section shall not apply if:
(1) The FOIA Officer determines that the information should not be disclosed;
(2) The information lawfully has been published or has been officially made available to the public;
(3) Disclosure of the information is required by law (other than 5 U.S.C. 552); or
(4) The designation made by the submitter in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section appears obviously frivolous; except that, in such a case, the FOIA Officer will provide the submitter with written notice of any final decision to disclose confidential business information within a reasonable number of days prior to a specified disclosure date.