(1) Disclosure. Upon receipt of a timely application filed by an authorized applicant, as defined in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, which describes in general terms the information requested, and sets forth the reasons for the request (e.g., all confidential business information properly disclosed pursuant to this section for the purpose of representing an interested party in investigations pending before the Commission), the Secretary shall make available all confidential business information contained in Commission memoranda and reports and in written submissions filed with the Commission at any time during the investigation (except privileged information, classified information, and specific information of a type that there is a clear and compelling need to withhold from disclosure, e.g., trade secrets) to the authorized applicant under an administrative protective order described in paragraph (b) of this section. The term “confidential business information” is defined in §201.6 of this chapter, and it includes information obtained under section 322(e)(2) of the Act.
(2) Application. An application under paragraph (a)(1) of this section must be made by an authorized applicant on a form adopted by the Secretary or a photocopy thereof. A signed application shall be filed electronically. An application on behalf of an authorized applicant must be made no later than the time that entries of appearance are due pursuant to §201.11 of this chapter. In the event that two or more authorized applicants represent one interested party who is a party to the investigation, the authorized applicants must select one of their number to be lead authorized applicant. The lead authorized applicant's application must be filed no later than the time that entries of appearance are due. Provided that the application is accepted, the lead authorized applicant shall be served with confidential business information pursuant to paragraph (f) of this section. The other authorized applicants representing the same party may file their applications after the deadline for entries of appearance, but at least five days before the deadline for filing post-hearing briefs in the investigation, and they shall not be served with confidential business information.
(3) Authorized applicant.
(i) Only an authorized applicant may file an application under this subsection. An authorized applicant is:
(A) An attorney for an interested party that is a party to the investigation;
(B) A consultant or expert under the direction and control of a person under paragraph (a)(3)(i)(A) of this section;
(C) A consultant or expert who appears regularly before the Commission and who represents an interested party that is a party to the investigation; or
(D) An authorized representative of an interested party that is a party to the investigation, if such interested party is not represented by counsel.
(ii) In addition, an authorized applicant must not be involved in competitive decision-making for an interested party that is a party to the investigation. Involvement in “competitive decision-making” includes past, present, or likely future activities, associations, and relationships with an interested party that is a party to the investigation, which involves the prospective authorized applicant's advice or participation in any of such party's decisions made in light of similar or corresponding information about a competitor (e.g., pricing, product design, etc.).
(4) Forms and determinations.
(i) The Secretary may adopt, from time to time, forms for submitting requests for disclosure pursuant to an administrative protective order incorporating the terms of this rule. The Secretary shall determine whether the requirements for release of information under this rule have been satisfied. This determination shall be made concerning specific confidential business information as expeditiously as possible, but in no event later than fourteen (14) days from the filing of the information, except if the submitter of the information objects to its release or the information is unusually voluminous or complex, in which case the determination shall be made within thirty (30) days from the filing of the information. The Secretary shall establish a list of parties whose applications have been granted. The Secretary's determination shall be final.
(ii) Should the Secretary determine pursuant to this section that materials sought by a person to be protected from public disclosure do not constitute confidential business information or were not required to be served under paragraph (f) of this section, then the Secretary shall, upon request, issue an order on behalf of the Commission requiring the return of all copies of such materials served in accordance with paragraph (f) of this section.
(iii) The Secretary shall release confidential business information only to an authorized applicant whose application has been accepted and who presents the application along with adequate personal identification; or a person described in paragraph (b)(1)(iv) of this section who presents a copy of the statement referred to in that paragraph, along with adequate personal identification.
(b) Administrative protective order. The administrative protective order under which information is made available to the authorized applicant shall require the applicant to submit to the Secretary a personal sworn statement that, in addition to such other conditions as the Secretary may require, the applicant shall:
(1) Not divulge any of the confidential business information obtained under the administrative protective order and not otherwise available to the applicant, to any person other than
(i) Personnel of the Commission concerned with the investigation,
(ii) The person or agency from whom the confidential business information was obtained,
(iii) A person whose application for access to confidential business information under the administrative protective order has been granted by the Secretary, and
(iv) Other persons, such as paralegals and clerical staff, who are employed or supervised by an authorized applicant; who have a need thereof in connection with the investigation; who are not involved in competitive decision-making on behalf of an interested party that is a party to the investigation; and who have signed a statement in a form approved by the Secretary that they agree to be bound by the administrative protective order (the authorized applicant shall be responsible for retention and accuracy of such forms and shall be deemed responsible for such persons' compliance with the administrative protective order);
(2) Use such confidential business information solely for the purposes of representing an interested party in the Commission investigation then in progress;
(3) Not consult with any person not described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section concerning such confidential business information without first having received the written consent of the Secretary and the party or the attorney of the party from whom such confidential business information was obtained;
(4) Whenever materials (e.g., documents, computer disks, etc.) containing such confidential business information are not being used, store such material in a locked file cabinet, vault, safe, or other suitable container;
(5) Serve all materials containing confidential business information as directed by the Secretary and pursuant to paragraph (f) of this section;
(6) Transmit all materials containing confidential business information with a cover sheet identifying the materials as containing confidential business information;
(7) Comply with the provisions of this section;
(8) Make true and accurate representations in the authorized applicant's application and promptly notify the Secretary of any changes that occur after the submission of the application and that affect the representations made in the application (e.g., change in personnel assigned to the investigation);
(9) Report promptly and confirm in writing to the Secretary any breach of the administrative protective order; and
(10) Acknowledge that breach of the administrative protective order may subject the authorized applicant to such sanctions or other actions as the Commission deems appropriate.
(c) Final disposition of material released under administrative protective order. At such date as the Secretary may determine appropriate for particular data, each authorized applicant shall destroy all physical and electronic copies of materials released to authorized applicants pursuant to this section and all other materials containing confidential business information, such as charts or notes based on any such information received under administrative protective order, and file with the Secretary a certificate attesting to the applicant's personal, good faith belief that all copies of such material have been returned or destroyed and no copies of such material have been made available to any person to whom disclosure was not specifically authorized.
(d) Commission responses to a breach of administrative protective order. A breach of an administrative protective order may subject an offender to:
(1) Disbarment from practice in any capacity before the Commission along with such person's partners, associates, employer, and employees, for up to seven years following publication of a determination that the order has been breached;
(2) Referral to the United States Attorney;
(3) In the case of an attorney, accountant, or other professional, referral to the ethics panel of the appropriate professional association;
(4) Such other administrative sanctions as the Commission determines to be appropriate, including public release of or striking from the record any information or briefs submitted by, or on behalf of, the offender or the party represented by the offender, denial of further access to confidential business information in the current or any future investigations before the Commission, and issuance of a public or private letter of reprimand; and
(5) Such other actions, including but not limited to, a warning letter, as the Commission determines to be appropriate.
(e) Breach investigation procedure.
(1) The Commission shall determine whether any person has violated an administrative protective order, and may impose sanctions or other actions in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section. At any time within sixty (60) days of the later of;
(i) The date on which the alleged violation occurred or, as determined by the Commission, could have been discovered through the exercise of reasonable and ordinary care; or
(ii) Upon the completion of an investigation conducted under this subpart, the Commission may commence an investigation of any breach of an administrative protective order alleged to have occurred at any time during the pendency of the investigation. Whenever the Commission has reason to believe that a person may have breached an administrative protective order issued pursuant to this section, the Secretary shall issue a letter informing such person that the Commission has reason to believe that a breach has occurred and that the person has a reasonable opportunity to present views on whether a breach has occurred. If the Commission subsequently determines that a breach has occurred and that further investigation is warranted, then the Secretary shall issue a letter informing such person of that determination and that the person has a reasonable opportunity to present views on whether mitigating circumstances exist and on the appropriate sanction to be imposed, but no longer on whether a breach has occurred. Once such person has been afforded a reasonable opportunity to present views, the Commission shall determine what sanction, if any, to impose.
(2) Where the sanction imposed is a private letter of reprimand, the Secretary shall expunge the sanction from the recipient's record two (2) years from the date of issuance of the sanction, provided that
(i) The recipient has not received another unexpunged sanction pursuant to this section at any time prior to the end of the two-year period, and
(ii) The recipient is not the subject of an investigation for possible breach of administrative protective order under this section at the end of the two-year period. Upon the completion of such a pending breach investigation without the issuance of a sanction, the original sanction shall be expunged. The Secretary shall notify a sanction recipient in the event that the sanction is expunged.
(1) Any party filing written submissions that include confidential business information to the Commission during an investigation shall at the same time serve complete copies of such submissions upon all authorized applicants specified on the list established by the Secretary pursuant to paragraph (a)(4) of this section, and, except as provided in §208.20(c), a nonconfidential version on all other parties. All such submissions must be accompanied by a certificate attesting that complete copies of the submission have been properly served. In the event that a submission is filed before the Secretary's list is established, the document need not be accompanied by a certificate of service, but the submission shall be served within two (2) days of the establishment of the list and a certificate of service shall then be filed.
(2) A party may seek an exemption from the service requirement of paragraph (f)(1) of this section for particular confidential business information by filing a request for exemption from disclosure in accordance with paragraph (g) of this section. The Secretary shall promptly respond to the request. If a request is granted, the Secretary shall accept the information. The party shall file three versions of the submission containing the information in accordance with paragraph (g) of this section, and serve the submission in accordance with the requirements of §208.20(b) and paragraph (f)(1) of this section, with the specific information as to which exemption from disclosure under administrative protective order has been granted redacted from the copies served. If a request is denied, the copy of the information lodged with the Secretary shall promptly be returned to the requester.
(3) The Secretary shall not accept for filing into the record of an investigation submissions filed without a proper certificate of service. Failure to comply with paragraph (f) of this section may result in denial of party status and such sanctions as the Commission deems appropriate. Confidential business information in submissions must be clearly marked as such when submitted by enclosing such information within brackets, and it must be segregated from other material being submitted.
(g) Exemption from disclosure.
(1) In general. Any person may request exemption from the disclosure of confidential business information under administrative protective order, whether the person desires to include such information in a petition filed under this part, or any other submission to the Commission during the course of an investigation under this part. Such a request shall be granted only if the Secretary finds that such information is non-disclosable confidential business information. As defined in §201.6(a)(2) of this chapter, non-disclosable confidential business information is privileged information, classified information, or specific information (e.g., trade secrets) of a type for which there is a clear and compelling need to withhold from disclosure.
(2) Request for exemption. A request for exemption from disclosure must be filed with the Secretary in writing with the reasons therefor. At the same time as the request is filed, one copy of the confidential business information in question must be lodged with the Secretary solely for the purpose of obtaining a determination as to the request. The confidential business information for which exemption from disclosure is sought shall remain the property of the requester, and it shall not become or be incorporated into any agency record until such time as the request is granted. A request should, when possible, be filed two business days prior to the deadline, if any, for filing the document in which the information for which exemption from disclosure is sought is proposed to be included. The Secretary shall promptly notify the requester as to whether the request has been approved or denied.
(3) Procedure if request is approved. If the request is approved, the person shall file three versions of the submission containing the non-disclosable confidential business information in question. One version shall contain all confidential business information, bracketed in accordance with §201.6 of this chapter and §208.20(c), with the specific information as to which exemption from disclosure was granted enclosed in triple brackets. This version shall have the following warning marked on every page: “CBI exempted from disclosure under APO enclosed in triple brackets.” The other two versions shall conform to and be filed in accordance with the requirements of §201.6 of this chapter and §208.20(c), except that the specific information as to which exemption from disclosure was granted shall be redacted from those versions of the submission.
(4) Procedure if request is denied. If the request is denied, the copy of the information lodged with the Secretary shall promptly be returned to the requester.