Solicitations for brand name or equal products are commonly used by contracting officers to ensure that the products procured via the contract meet minimum requirements. However, as one agency found, the salient characteristics required to meet the minimum requirements must be explicitly stated in the solicitation. And, evaluating the product on any characteristics that are not included in the solicitation, even if incorporated by reference to the name brand item, can lead to an improper exclusion of offerors from competition.Continue reading
In a recent decision, GAO dismissed a protest challenging the USDA’s issuance of a lease contract as untimely where the protester’s communications with the agency did not constitute an agency-level protest, and the protest was filed more than 10 days after the notice that formed the basis of its protest was received by the protester.Continue reading
Ignorance is bliss, right? Not always. In the world of government contracting, GAO recently dismissed a protest because its initial agency protest was not timely filed, reminding the protester that ignorance of the law is no excuse.Continue reading
Readers of this blog will know that the GAO interprets its protest timeliness rules quite strictly. A recent GAO case provides us with an opportunity to review a nuanced piece of those timeliness rules. Specifically, how withdrawal of an agency-level protest affects the deadline to file a GAO protest, and what counts as a withdrawal of an agency-level protest versus an “initial adverse agency action.”
In this case, the protester lost its GAO protest rights by trying to pursue its agency-level protest with an inspector general’s office rather than with the contracting officer.