Injury and Accident Law

Confidentiality of Information Under Section 6 of the CPSA

Chapter 7 - Confidential Treatment of Information Submitted

This Chapter provides information on the confidential treatment of information submitted to the CPSC in response to a Letter of Advice (LOA) or a report filed with the Commission under sections 15 and 37 of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), Section 102 of the Child Safety Protection Act, and requests for Exportation of violative products.

Confidentiality of Information Under Section 6 of the CPSA

Section 6(a) of the CPSA, as amended by the Consumer Product Safety Amendments of 1981, 15 U.S.C. § 2055(a), provides protection for trade secrets or confidential information. Section 6(a)(3), 15 U.S.C. § 2055(a)(3), gives manufacturers an opportunity to mark information as confidential.

If you believe any of the information you submit to the Commission is a trade secret, or privileged or confidential information, you must accompany the submission with a request that the information be considered exempt from disclosure or indicate that a request will be submitted within 10 working days of the submission. The failure to make a request within that time will be considered an acknowledgment that you do not wish to claim exempt status. In accordance with the Commission’s regulations at 16 C.F.R. § 1015.18(c), the following information must be included with the request for exemption:

  1. 1. Specifically identify the exact portion(s) of the document claimed to be confidential;
  2. 2. State whether the information claimed to be confidential has ever been released in any manner to a person who was not an employee or in a confidential relationship with the firm;
  3. 3. State whether the information so specified is commonly known within the industry or is readily ascertainable by outside persons with a minimum of time and effort;
  4. 4. State how release of the information so specified would be likely to cause substantial harm to the firm’s competitive position; and
  5. 5. State whether the submitter is authorized to make claims of confidentiality on behalf of the person or organization concerned.

If the Commission determines that information marked as confidential may be disclosed because it is not confidential, the Commission must provide written notice that it intends to disclose this information. This notice must be provided not less than 10 working days prior to disclosure. Any person receiving such notice may bring an action in an appropriate district court to prevent disclosure of the information, 15 U.S.C. § 2055(a)(5).

The Commission’s regulations under the Freedom of Information Act, 16 C.F.R. 1015, govern confidential treatment of requests for exportation of violative products which have claimed trade secret or confidential commercial or financial information.

In addition, section 6(b) of the CPSA, 15 U.S.C. § 2055(b), also provides limitations on the Commission’s disclosure of any information identifying manufacturers or private labelers, and further limits the Commission’s disclosure of information received under section 15(b) of the CPSA, 15 U.S.C. § 2055(b)(5).