Was there some kind of confidentiality agreement signed?
Surely they are at liberty to state their opinions...public or not...it does not stop us from speaking of other machines and grinders here.
I'm not sure what was signed between the mfgrs and WBC, but the measurement results for all of the machines are only known by the WBC. The manufacturers were given the results for their specific machines only. Some mfgrs published their results, and others did not.
It's harder to keep confidentiality on qualitative testing. All of the testers formed valid opinions on all of the machines that were tested, and they of course took those opinions with them when the testing was done. I'd think that it's pretty unreasonable to expect folks to "forget what you've learned", and it's pretty unreasonable to think that people won't make decisions based on the knowledge that they gain.
It's tough to draw a line in the sand when it comes to testing results. For example, suppose you know of a technology specific to one manufacturer, and you keep the information confidential. Then, the manufacturer proudly announces their breakthrough to the world, making a public disclosure. It's in the public domain, now. Yet if you were a tester you prolly shouldn't weigh in on it based on your results from the tests. However, if you tried the machine on your own after the public disclosure, should you be free to talk about your experience? What if you own the machine? What does that mean? This is an ethical problem where I work. I see and test many different instruments in a way that's available to only a handful of folks in the world. So I know pretty well what the state of the current technology is, and how well it works in my technical field (humidity measurement). A semi- clear line in the sand can get drawn when discussing technologies. I often get asked what equipment someone should buy. I'm on safe ground when I suggest appropriate technologies for the purpose, although you can argue that I could still pick winners and losers based on technologies I like vs don't like. I'm on safe ground if I provide a list of manufacturers that use a specific technology, as long as I'm clear that I'm not recommending any one. If I recommend one over another, I'm in trouble. Here's where things get squishy. I'm allowed to talk freely about, and divulge the details of equipment that i own. I can tell you how it behaves, and what I like and dislike. But I can't tell you specifically to buy it. On the other hand, you could surmise that if I have a certain hygrometer (humidity measuring instrument) as a permanent fixture in my lab, then I think it's probably the best one so I've already as good as told you to buy it. How did I make that choice - from knowledge gained doing confidential tests, and from discussions among my peers, who also own these instruments and who also bought them based on results of confidential testing.
Dunno if that's useful or just a rant.