The OECD Test Guidelines Programme regularly receives proposals for new and innovative test methods for chemical safety testing. These methods may contain elements protected by intellectual property . Forms of protection may include patents for examples, but are sometimes just protected under the claim of Confidential Business Information. As the goal of the Test Guidelines Programme is to develop and standardise relevant and reliable methods, transparency is important from a regulatory perspective. Therefore the Test Guidelines Programme is developing a policy to deal with confidentiality claims  so that it remains an attractive programme for innovative methods, while ensuring that developers identify other means to protect their assets. In 2019, Guiding Principles on Good Practices for the distribution an availability of protected elements in OECD Test Guidelines was published. In these Guiding Principles, the notions of transparency and protection of innovation are further explained. In April 2020, a public webinar was organised to explain the Guiding Principles and their implementation in the Programme (video).

For future candidate methods, the TG Programme envisions that during TG development and review, confidential elements should be initially disclosed to the community of regulators from OECD member countries and adherent to the MAD system only (Phase 1).

From the moment the TG is adopted, the test developer will have to publicly disclose information, and seek other means of protection if necessary and not done before (patent, copyright, etc.) (Phase 2).

In order to evaluate the potential impact, advantages and disadvantages, of this policy on the test developer community (academic, business) and the views of regulators and the broader community, the Working Group of the National Coordinators of the Test Guidelines Programme (WNT) wishes to collect feedback on the following questions by 31 August 2020.

This survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.