In general. Confidential business information will be disclosed under the FOIA only in accordance with this section.
Designation of business information. A submitter of business information will use good-faith efforts to designate, by appropriate markings, either at the time of submission or at a reasonable time thereafter, any portions of its submission that it considers to be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4. These designations will expire ten years after the date of the submission unless the submitter requests, and provides justification for, a longer designation period.
Notice to submitters. A component will provide a submitter with prompt written notice of a FOIA request that seeks its business information whenever required under paragraph (d) of this section, except as provided in paragraph (g) of this section, in order to give the submitter an opportunity to object in writing to disclosure of any specified portion of that information under paragraph (e) of this section. The notice will either describe the business information requested or include copies of the requested records or record portions containing the information. When notification to a voluminous number of submitters is required, notification may be made by posting or publishing notice reasonably likely to accomplish such notification.
When notice is required. Notice will be given to a submitter whenever:
The information requested under the FOIA has been designated in good faith by the submitter as information considered protected from disclosure under Exemption 4; or
A component has reason to believe that the information requested under the FOIA may be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4.
pportunity to object to disclosure. A component will allow a submitter a reasonable time to respond to the notice described in paragraph (c) of this section. If a submitter has any objection to disclosure, it is required to submit a detailed written statement. The statement must show why the information is a trade secret or commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential. In the event that a submitter fails to respond to the notice within the time specified, the submitter will be considered to have no objection to disclosure of the information. Information provided by a submitter under this paragraph may itself be subject to disclosure under the FOIA.
Notice of intent to disclose. A component will consider a submitter's timely objections and specific grounds for non-disclosure in deciding whether to disclose business information. Whenever a disclosure officer decides to disclose business information over the objection of a submitter, the component will give the submitter written notice, which will include:
A statement of the reason(s) why each of the submitter's disclosure objections was not sustained;
A description of the business information to be disclosed; and
A specified disclosure date, which will be a reasonable time subsequent to the notice.
Exceptions to notice requirements. The notice requirements of paragraphs (c) and (f) of this section will not apply if:
The disclosure officer determines that the information should not be disclosed;
The information lawfully has been published or has been officially made available to the public;
Disclosure of the information is required by statute (other than the FOIA) or by a regulation issued in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 12600 (3 CFR 1988 Comp., p. 235); or
The designation made by the submitter under paragraph (b) of this section appears obviously frivolous or such a designation would be unsupportable -- except that, in such a case, the component will, within a reasonable time prior to a specified disclosure date, give the submitter written notice of any final decision to disclose the information.
Notice of a FOIA lawsuit. Whenever a requester files a lawsuit seeking to compel the disclosure of business information, the component will promptly notify the submitter.
Corresponding notice to requesters. Whenever a component provides a submitter with notice and an opportunity to object to disclosure under paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section, the component will also notify the requester(s). Whenever a component notifies a submitter of its intent to disclose requested information under paragraph (f) of this section, the component will also notify the requester(s). Whenever a submitter files a lawsuit seeking to prevent the disclosure of business information, the component will notify the requester(s).
Notice requirements. The component will fulfill the notice requirements of this section by addressing the notice to the business submitter or its legal successor at the address indicated on the records, or the last known address. If the notice is returned, the component will make a reasonable effort to locate the business submitter or its legal successor. Where notification of a voluminous number of submitters is required, such notification may be accomplished by posting and publishing the notice in a place reasonably calculated to accomplish notification.
[71 FR 30767, May 30, 2006]