17 July 2018
Plant & Food Research
RE: OIA request to Plant & Food pertaining to Thompson and Clark Investigations Ltd (TCIL)
I understand that your department may be subject to an Official Information Act request pertaining to my company
Thompson & Clark Investigations Ltd (TCIL).
Please accept this letter as notification of our interest as a third party in this matter and we highlight relevant
sections of the OIA as well as sections from the Ombudsman’s guidelines outlining that third parties should be
consulted prior to the release of any information.
The following Sections are relevant to this situation:
a. Section 9(2)(b)(i) OIA & Section 7(2)(b)(i) LGOIMA, Considered a Trade Secret.
b. Section 9(2)(b)(ii) OIA & Section 7(2)(b)(ii) LGOIMA, Commercial position of Third Parties.
c. Section 9(2)(ba) OIA & Section 7(2)(c) LGOIMA, Subject to an obligation of confidence.
When considering a trade secret the factors (below) outlined in the guidelines make it clear that consultation is
necessary to determine whether the information is in fact a trade secret as specific knowledge is only
possessed by the supplier of the information.
a. Some factors to be considered in determining whether given information is one's trade secret are:
(1) the extent to which the information is known outside of his business;
(2) the extent to which it is known by employees and others involved in his business;
(3) the extent of measures taken by him to guard the secrecy of the information;
(4) the value of the information to him and to his contemporaries;
(5) the amount of effort or money expended by him in developing the information;
(6) the ease or difficulty with which the information could be properly acquired or duplicated by others.
When considering the commercial position of a third party the following is outlined in the guidelines making it
clear that consultation may be necessary to establish the basis of this concern:
a. “The likelihood and nature of prejudice to a third party's commercial position cannot be established by a
simple assertion made by the holder of the information that such prejudice would be likely to arise. Direct
consultation with the third party or parties may be necessary in order to establish the basis for this concern”.
When considering an obligation of confidence there must be a mutual understanding of an obligation of
confidence, TCIL documents hold a confidentiality caveat, the following is outlined in the guidelines:
a. In order to establish that information is subject to an obligation of confidence, there must generally be a
mutual understanding between the supplier of the information and the agency receiving the information
that it is subject to an obligation of confidence.
I trust that the above grounds are sufficient to advise you of your obligations pursuant to the OIA and I look forward
to hearing from you in due course.
Thompson & Clark Investigations Ltd
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