The inquiries regarding whether records constitute confidential commercial and financial information are fact-specific. . . . [A]n agency [may] withhold records when disclosure would: “(1) impair government’s ability to obtain information in the future; or (2) . . . cause substantial harm to the competitive position of the submitter of information.” OIP Op. Ltr. No. F17-01 at 8 (internal citations omitted).
The confidential business information exception is limited in scope. The agency must individually analyze each situation and cannot solely rely on a third party opinion that particular information is confidential business information. OIP Op. Ltr. No. F17-01 at 7.
This exception exists only to protect truly confidential business information that would not be voluntarily submitted to the government.
Please provide an explanation with greater detail regarding what type of confidential information is contained in the record. To the extent feasible, redact any information that would reasonably constitute confidential business information and provide the segregated record.
The exceptions for disclosure provided by the UIPA are not mandatory. An agency has the authority to disclose records at its discretion, even when the frustration exception may allow it to withhold certain documents. OIP Op. Ltr. No. 04-12 at 3 n.3. The UIPA was enacted with the intent that there be a presumption of openness, with government records only being withheld when absolutely necessary.
This exception protects confidential business information that would not be voluntarily submitted to the government.
Information that a business would customarily release, such as the number of employees it has, contact information, business address, or the year the company was established is more often than not, information that cannot be withheld under the confidential business information exception.
OIP Op. Ltr. No. 05-13.
OIP Op. Ltr. No. F17-01 at 8 (internal citations omitted)
OIP Op. Ltr. No. 05-13