On September 30 2014 the Agency for the Protection of Competition adopted a notice addressing the protection of confidential data in competition law proceedings.
The agency identified three categories of data and information which can be classed as confidential information:
- Trade secrets – confidential information on an undertaking's business activities (eg, know-how, cost assessment, supply sources and sales volume), which if revealed would adversely affect business operations and interests;
- Data unavailable to the general public – such data is protected by the holder on the basis of its internal business policy or contractual obligations; and
- Other data and information – such data and information would irreparably damage the party which provided the information if publicised.
The agency clearly emphasised that data already in the public domain cannot be classed as confidential data. It also stated that certain data and information may lose commercial value over time. Accordingly, the agency will grant protection for such data for a two-year period, with a possible extension of up to a maximum of five years.
Requests for confidentiality should be lodged as a separate submission accompanying a non-confidential (redacted) submission.
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