Trade secrets

Department of Transportation to continue mandating oil train disclosures, but states vary widely on requirements

Jacob Donnelly | Freedom of Information | News | June 5, 2015
June 5, 2015

Regulators will keep rules requiring the public disclosure of certain information about trains transporting crude oil intact, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announced last week.

The Department of Transportation had previously announced on May 1 that it would phase out the temporary rules, which were enacted on May 7, 2014, a week after a major oil train derailment in Lynchburg, Va.

Va. high court clarifies FOIA exemption, redaction fee issues in case over climate change controversy

Emily Grannis | Freedom of Information | News | April 17, 2014
April 17, 2014

The Virginia Supreme Court ruled this morning that the University of Virginia does not have to release certain emails sent to and from a former professor.

The American Tradition Institute (now the Energry and Environmental Legal Institute) requested emails under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act from Michael Mann, a climate scientist and then-professor at UVA, in 2011. He intervened in the case at the trial level, alleging that the university was not sufficiently representing his privacy and academic freedom rights in a controversy surrounding climate change research.

Iowa State University research on "pink slime" barred from public to protect trade secrets, judge ruled

Lilly Chapa | Freedom of Information | News | April 16, 2013
April 16, 2013

Iowa State University cannot release research data about how a meat packaging company processes the controversial “pink slime” beef product because the processes are trade secrets, a district judge ruled.

The research a professor conducted for Beef Products, Inc. (BPI) at a university laboratory falls under the trade secrets exemption of the state Freedom of Information Act, Story County District Judge Dale Ruigh stated in an opinion released last month.

Conn. high court rules university can withhold trade secrets

Haley Behre | Freedom of Information | Feature | February 16, 2012
February 16, 2012

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in University of Connecticut v. Freedom of Information Commission that a public entity could invoke the trade secret exemption in the state freedom of information act to shield its own records from being released.

Typically, such trade secret exemptions are invoked to protect against the disclosure of private sector trade secret information in the possession of the government.

Publicly accessible trade secrets not entitled to court sealing

Kristen Rasmussen | Secret Courts | Feature | January 6, 2012
January 6, 2012

The maker of the iPhone and iPad failed to convince a federal judge in California that court documents in its lawsuit against a maker of Mac computer clones should remain shielded from public view.

Reporters Committee urges appeals court to revisit sealed records

Press Release | April 5, 2011
April 5, 2011

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press today urged a federal appeals court to review the automatic sealing of records in a legal battle between Internet search engine Google and the language-education company Rosetta Stone.

Court orders USDA to disclose animal testing records

Miranda Fleschert | Freedom of Information | Feature | September 24, 2009
September 24, 2009

The Department of Agriculture must disclose 1,017 pages of animal testing records to an animal protection organization, a D.C. federal judge ordered last week. 

The nonprofit animal rights group In Defense of Animals filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain documents relating to the USDA’s investigation of Huntingdon Life Sciences, Inc., a contract research organization with a facility in New Jersey.

Exam questions are a trade secret in Ohio

Amanda Becker | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | September 21, 2009
September 21, 2009

Ohio's Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the annual exam given to ninth-graders in Cincinnati's public schools is not a public record subject to disclosure because it is a trade secret and therefore excempt from public records law, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

Fed must disclose companies that received loans

Corinna Zarek | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | August 25, 2009
August 25, 2009

The string of FOIA lawsuits for release of records of the government's emergency lending programs finally saw its first victory Monday. The Federal Reserve Board must release to Bloomberg News records identifying the financial firms it loaned bailout funds to as well as the assets or amounts put up as collateral, the news agency reported.

Media groups push for access to AMD v. Intel case, yet again

Kathleen Cullinan | Secret Courts | Feature | August 21, 2008
August 21, 2008

For the second time in nearly three years, a coalition of news groups and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press are pushing for openness in an ongoing antitrust suit between computer industry players AMD and Intel.

In its latest bid to permeate the secrecy that has all but shut reporters out of AMD v. Intel, the media coalition filed a motion Thursday saying documents have been sealed too readily and hearing transcripts have been closed without explanation from the court.