Also known as Trade secrets, 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(4), b4.

United States of America

5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(3) states that “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential.”

What it means: Trade secrets and other confidential or privileged commercial or financial information.

What it really means: “The business of America is business.”

What you can do about it: The nice thing about b(4) is that it typically involves corporate lawyers. And while that sounds like the set-up to a joke, corporate lawyers are refreshingly exact in what they don’t want you to see and why, as well as what recourses you have to challenge them.

Now, occasionally, you’ll run into an agency deciding on behalf of the company what they’re allowed to give you, in which case you’ll need to call up your new best friend at Weyland-Yutani Legal and let them know the FDA’s doing their job for them. FOIA makes for strange bedfellows.

Key Citations

DOJ Exemption 4 Guidance