Law and Practice
Federal, state and local governmental entities collect and store large amounts of commercially useful information and data about individuals and businesses. While some of this information is self-generated, some of it is obtained from individuals and companies who are required to file information with the government or who choose to conduct business with the government. This might happen, for instance, where a company submits a bid for a government contract or where an individual files his tax return. It can also occur in industries that are regulated by local, state or federal authorities, such as the banking, pharmaceutical and aviation industries. Although a company may choose not to do business with the government, it cannot choose to avoid applicable regulations and the disclosure of information that is often required by regulators. This chapter addresses the legal theories and procedures that can be used to protect business (as opposed to personal) information that is submitted to a governmental entity. Since this book is primarily concerned with trade secret protection, it begins with an examination of the process that should be followed (where possible) to protect trade secrets that are submitted to and held by governmental officials. Next, it examines the separate and distinct topic known as ‘data exclusivity’ which is the subject of Article 39.3 of theTRIPS Agreement and a focus of the United States Trade Representative’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) strategy.
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