Data Rights and the Government Contractor: Restricted Computer Software

After going over limited data rights in our last post on intellectual property in government contracts, it is only natural we discuss the similar but distinct concept of restricted computer software. As we noted in the limited data rights post, this only concerns contracts regulated by FAR, or, in other words, non-Department of Defense contracts. If you’re dealing with the Department of Defense, the Defense Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) applies. DFARS has similar provisions but also differs in meaningful ways. We’ll discuss DFARS at a later post.

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White House Proposes Reforms to Increase Dollars to Underserved Small Businesses

Small businesses are often seen as the backbone of the economy. Contained within the category of small businesses are what are known as Small Disadvantaged Businesses or SDBs. Currently, the federal government has a goal to award 5% of its contracting dollars to SDBs. The White House is seeking to triple this number by 2025. The White House recently released a Fact Sheet as to how it intends to meet this goal. So, let’s dive into some of the specifics.

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FAR Will Clarify Commercial Item Definition Into Services and Products

There will be a new definition for commercial items under the FAR, via a final rule effective December 6, 2021. The rule divides the definition into two separate categories: “commercial item” and “commercial product.” Below, we’ll summarize these changes to an important definition in federal contracting.

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The SBA Proposes New Rules to Help Small Businesses in Obtaining Past Performance

The SBA proposes to amend its regulations to implement new provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2021 that provides small business contractors with new tools to establish past performance when bidding on prime contracts for Government procurements. The proposed rules would add two new methods for small businesses to obtain qualifying past performance. One proposed rule would allow a small business with no relevant past performance of its own to use the past performance of a joint venture in which it took part. The second proposed rule would require prime contractors to provide, to small businesses that served as a first-tier subcontractor, a record of the business’s past performance for use by the small business in future proposals.

The proposed rules are here.

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Picking Your Team: Joint Ventures Versus Prime/Subcontractor Teams (Part Two, Past Performance)

Federal contractors often ask: “It is better to team up for government work with a prime-sub arrangement or with a joint venture?” Well, (spoiler alert) the answer is: it depends. But I won’t leave you with just that. This three-part series will provide insight on some of the major differences between these two types of “teams” that offerors should consider when making the decision between a joint venture or prime/subcontractor team in competing for and performing federal contracts. While this series will not provide a comprehensive list of all the differences between these two types of teams, it will cover some of the big ones that seem to come up more frequently in this decision-making process. The focus of the first article in this three-part series was work share considerations. This second article will focus on evaluations of a team’s past performance.

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Data Rights and the Government Contractor: Limited Data Rights

In our last post on intellectual property and government contracts, we went over a basic discussion about data rights and then addressed the matter of unlimited data rights for the government. As discussed, unlimited data rights basically give the government free rein to do as they wish with the data. More importantly, the FAR provides that such unlimited data rights are the government’s default rights. But there is a way to limit the government’s rights: limited data rights.

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