On Friday, July 12, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.
While this passage may lead to an uncharacteristic political fight over appropriations, contractors will be watching whether the U.S. Senate and House bills ultimately agree upon the less politically-charged sections likely to impact their businesses.
The draft 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, if enacted, will revoke the government’s ability to exercise rights in technical data during a supplier’s challenge to the contracting officer’s decision as to the validity of the asserted “use or release restrictions” on that data. It would reinstate the previous safeguard afforded to data suppliers, allowing them to protect their valuable–and often irreplaceable–intellectual property rights unless and until the contracting officer’s decision to remove the restrictions is sustained.
Keep in mind, this is just a draft provision, as the Senate version of the 2020 NDAA doesn’t contain the provision discussed in this blog.
While the overarching goal of the federal procurement system is to provide as many opportunities for competition as possible, there are those instances where the unique circumstances of a procurement require limiting the pool of offerors.
In a recent decision, GAO determined that the need for proprietary maintenance information was a sufficient reason to limit competition.