A request for records may be denied if the requested record contains information which falls into one or more of the nine categories listed below. If the requested record contains both exempt and nonexempt information, the nonexempt portions which may reasonably be segregated from the exempt portions will be released to the requester.
Categories of Exempt Information
Exemption One: Records which are specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive Order to be kept secret in interest of national defense or foreign policy and are in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive Order.
Exemption Two: Records related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of the USPTO.
Exemption Three: Records specifically exempted from disclosure by statute, provided that such statue
- Requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on the issues; or
- Establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld.
Exemption Four: Trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person that is privileged or confidential.
Exemption Five: Interagency or intra-agency memoranda or letters which would not be available by law to a private party in litigation with the USPTO.
Exemption Six: Personnel, medical, and similar files (including financial files) the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
Exemption Seven: Records compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records:
- Could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings;
- Would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication;
- Could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;
- Could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a state, local, or foreign agency or authority or any private institution which furnished records on a confidential basis;
- Would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law; or
- Could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual.
Exemption Eight: Records that are contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions.
Exemption Nine: Geological and geophysical information and data, including maps, concerning wells.
A person whose initial FOIA request for records has been denied, either in part or in whole, or whose request for a fee waiver has been denied, has the right to appeal the denial to General Counsel of the USPTO, within 30 calendar days of the date of the denial notification. Appeals must be in writing and include any additional information relevant to consideration of the appeal. Appeals should be addressed to:
United States Patent and Trademark Office
Washington, DC 20231