Sysco Systems began supplying food to the university in 2008 under a contract that was won in a competative bid. A reporter with the Cedar Rapids Gazette requested a copy of the contract under Iowa’s open records law.
Sysco sought to block the release of the contract, saying it would allow competitors to know their costs, how they define costs, the margins charged and other information that would put them at a disadvantage in the next bidding process.
The district court ruled the information in the contract does not have independent economic value and should be released. The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled if the information is released Sysco will stand a very real risk of being undercut on future bids because Sysco’s competitors know its bid strategy, but Sysco does not know theirs.
The ruling says the information is a trade secret and is exempt from disclosure under Iowa’s Open Records Act.
Here’s the full ruling:Sysco ruling PDF