The Food and Drug Administration has been quietly working to protect trade secrets.
And, as of March 20, the agency has released a new rule that says companies are supposed to “take reasonable steps to protect confidential information and proprietary information.”
In the United States, that means it should not be shared with third parties, but it could apply elsewhere, too.
“This is a big change from the Obama administration, which required companies to take all necessary steps to ensure that trade secrets were not disclosed to outside parties,” said John B. Pomerantz, a lawyer with the Center for Democracy & Technology’s Open Trade Program, in a statement.
“The FDA’s rule is a step in the right direction, but we need more.
It is not enough for the FDA to tell companies how to protect their trade secrets.”
The agency also said that while it does not require companies to disclose trade secrets to the public, it does “encourage companies to make appropriate disclosures” about trade secrets if there are concerns that they might compromise national security.
The agency said in a blog post on its website that the rules are not a complete list of all the types of information that can be protected, but the most important ones are those “that may be of public interest.”
The rule also states that companies are not required to disclose the “source code” of their trade secret.
“This information is an integral part of trade secrets and can only be revealed if an agency or other agency has a reasonable belief that it could identify or identify the source of the trade secret.”