Successful exempt information application example

This is a hypothetical example of an application for exempt information that was granted. Generally, the more relevant information provided in support of your application, the stronger your application is likely to be. The business dollar values and market share loss figures provided are examples only. They should not be taken to mean that all applications which disclose those exact or similar quantum losses will have the same outcome.

Application scenario

An application for an assessment certificate under the Polymer of Low Concern category was accompanied by an application for exempt information.

The data items requested to be treated as exempt information were:

  • the chemical identity details, including the chemical name, CAS number, structural formula and polymer constituents, and
  • use details, specifically the exact concentration of the notified polymer in the final product.

In addition to information included in the application, a web search did not reveal a connection between the trade name and the chemical identity of the polymer.

Findings of fact

We made the following findings of fact based on the information submitted by the applicant, and the information established during our assessment process:

  1. The chemical is an ingredient of coatings used in the industrial sector only.
  2. The polymer and/or products containing it are not available to the public.
  3. The polymer identity has not been revealed in other jurisdictions where it has undergone new chemicals assessment, including the USA and Canada.
  4. The identity of the polymer is protected through treating manufacturing instructions as commercial-in-confidence and on a need-to-know basis. The polymer is not identified on the SDS, technical data sheet or other public documentation (commercial name is recorded).
  5. It would be difficult to reverse engineer the polymer from the commercial product.
  6. Revealing the exact concentration would reveal important formulation details to the applicant’s competitors and the applicant has provided a non-confidential concentration (as a limit value) to be used in the public report.
  7. The applicant estimates the loss of competitive advantage as $1.5 million, based on their projected sales and market share, if the chemical identity is revealed in the public assessment report.
  8. The applicant described how a competitor could use the identity of the polymer to develop their own competing product, and thus reduce the market share of the applicant before they can recover the substantial costs that were invested into the R&D for this polymer (estimated at $500,000).
  9. The polymer meets the PLC criteria and so is deemed to be low hazard. There is therefore negligible concern for the environment and human health.

Reasons for granting exemption from publication

The following matters were considered when making the decision:

  1. The applicant established a relevant commercial interest:
    1. The applicant developed the polymer and intends to introduce it under the assessment certificate, if granted.
    2. The applicant has measures in place to protect the confidentiality of the chemical’s identity.
  2. The applicant demonstrated that the publication of some or all of the chemical’s particulars could reasonably be expected to substantially prejudice the commercial interests of the applicant:
    1. The applicant estimated the loss of competitive advantage at $1.5 million and described how they think a competitor will use the polymer’s identity to the applicant’s disadvantage before the applicant can recoup some of the R&D costs spent on the polymer.
  3. The commercial prejudice demonstrated by the applicant outweighs the public interest in disclosure of the chemical’s particulars:
    1. The polymer meets the PLC criteria and is therefore considered to be low hazard.
    2. The identified use is for the industrial sector only and so there will be no public exposure

Other examples

Partially successful exempt information application

Rejected / insufficient exempt information application

Further information needed

Last update 29 July 2018