Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s (Federal Circuit) opinion in The Boeing Co. v. Secretary of the Air Force shed additional light on the technical data rights of contractors under defense contracts. The decision hinges on the fact that technical data provided by a contractor to the government remains the property of the contractor. Additionally, contractors retain certain rights in connection with technical data even when the government has so-called “unlimited rights” to use it.

Case Background

In this case, Boeing held two contracts with the U.S. Air Force (USAF) for work on the F-15 Eagle Passive/Active Warning Survivability System. The contracts included the requirement for delivery of technical data to the USAF with Unlimited Rights and the DFARS 252.227-7013, non-commercial technical data rights clause (Subsection 7013). The parties did not dispute that Boeing retained ownership of technical data delivered to the USAF under the contracts, but Boeing contended that its legends on the technical data were intended to protect its rights as they pertained to third parties. Namely, putting third parties on notice of the proprietary nature of the data and directing that “Non-US Government Entities May Use and Disclose Only As Permitted In Writing By Boeing Or By The US Government.” The USAF rejected the data deliverables marked in this manner, finding them nonconforming and Boeing requested a final Contracting Officer’s decision on the matter.

The Contracting Officer’s final decision confirmed that the USAF was correct in rejecting the legends and directed Boeing to correct them. Boeing appealed the decision to the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA) on the ground that Boeing’s legend was “not nonconforming” under Subsection 7013(f) since its legend did not address restrictions on government rights, only third-party rights. The ASBCA, ruling on the motion for summary judgment, disagreed, siding with the USAF’s position that only the legends listed in Subsection 7013(f) are authorized and Boeing’s legend was not one of those. Boeing appealed this decision to the Federal Circuit.


Continue Reading Federal Circuit Confirms DoD Contractor’s Expanded Restrictions on Non-Government Parties Rights in Data

On September 24, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) denied DynCorp International, LLC’s (DynCorp) protest of the Department of the Army’s award of a global intelligence logistics support task order to CACI Technologies, Inc. (CACI, Inc.). DynCorp alleged that the award was improper, citing the fact that CACI, Inc. no longer existed as a corporate entity. Additionally, DynCorp challenged the Department of the Army’s evaluation of the proposals submitted. The GAO rejected both of DynCorp’s arguments and found the task order’s award to CACI, Inc. proper.

Conversion to Limited Liability Company Affects Bid

While the GAO’s decision has the familiar discussion regarding the weight and comparison of proposal elements, its examination of CACI, Inc.’s corporate entity change and how that affects the bid process is particularly noteworthy as the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) is silent on this issue. In this case, CACI Technologies, Inc. was awarded a GISS IDIQ contract in September 2014 under the CAGE code 8D014. On December 31, 2017, CACI Technologies, Inc. converted to CACI Technologies, LLC (CACI, LLC) while retaining the same CAGE code as the former entity.

After the conversion to a limited liability company, CACI, LLC worked with the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) to effect a name change, per FAR 42.1205. CACI, LLC reached an agreement with DCMA on the terms of a conversion and name change by March 2018, but the agreement was not approved and finalized by DCMA until April 2020. In the interim between CACI, LLC’s conversion and when DCMA approved the name change and conversion, CACI, LLC bid on the Department of the Army contract at issue.


Continue Reading Now You See Me, Now You Don’t: What Happens When a Bidder’s Corporate Entity Changes during a Bid?

This is a continuation of our series addressing ways companies can protect themselves during government enforcement actions related to COVID-19. For more information, see our previous articles focused on general corporate best practicesthe health care industry and public companies.

The economic disruptions wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic have been particularly acute for government contractors. State quarantine measures and the closure of both contractor and government worksites meant many contractors were unable to perform ongoing contracts, thus risking a lapse in payment and the need to lay off or furlough workers. To mitigate this risk, Congress passed §3610 as part of the March 27, 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). That brief provision gives federal agencies authority to reimburse contractors for paid leave to employees who are unable to work due to the pandemic. The Department of Defense (DoD)—which obligated by far the most funds pursuant to §3610—has issued guidance, instructions, and regulations clarifying eligibility for relief and the procedures contractors must follow in order to be reimbursed. Eligible contractors should be mindful of this guidance, summarized below, and carefully monitor ongoing developments.

Section 3610: the Legislative Language

Section 3610 of the CARES Act gives agencies discretion (which they are not required to exercise) to “reimburse, at the minimum applicable contract rates (not to exceed an average of 40 hours per week) any paid leave, including sick leave, a contractor provides to keep its employees or contractors in a ready state” between January 31, 2020 through Sept. 30, 2020—which Congress recently extended to Dec. 11, 2020. Importantly, the maximum reimbursement authorized under §3610 must be reduced by the amount of credit a contractor is allowed under the Family and Medical Leave Act or any applicable credits a contractor already receives under the CARES Act. Beyond these general principles, the legislative language leaves much of the detail to be worked out by individual agencies. For example, the legislation authorizes agencies to reimburse at the “minimum applicable contract billing rates,” a term that is not defined, but only if the employees cannot perform work at a site that has been “approved by the Federal Government” without guidance on what such approval entails.


Continue Reading Important Considerations for DoD Contractors Seeking Relief Under §3610 of the CARES Act

For over a year, we have been discussing the Department of Defense’s (DoD) eventual implementation of a Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) program for Defense contractors, most recently during a webinar in September 2020 entitled CMMC is (Almost) Here! Latest Developments and Best Practices for Government Contractors.

The CMMC framework is part of DoD’s efforts to enhance the protection of controlled unclassified information (CUI) within the federal supply chain. On September 29, the Pentagon released an interim rule under the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) providing details on the implementation timeline of CMMC and the requirements defense contractors will have to adhere to starting November 30, 2020.

CMMC Five-Year Rollout

The interim rule specifies that the CMMC program will be introduced in a five-year phased rollout that will be complete by September 30, 2025. After that date, all defense contractors will be required to reach some level of CMMC certification if they are to receive future DoD contracts and subcontracts, except for DoD acquisitions solely for commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) items. During the rollout, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (USD (A&S)) will determine and communicate to Contracting Officers which contracts will require contractors to undergo a full third-party CMMC assessment.


Continue Reading It’s Here! DoD Issues Interim Rule Launching Two Cyber Assessment Programs

We will present a training webinar titled, “GSA Schedules – Status of Modernization & Simplification Efforts” for the Maryland Procurement Technical Assistance Center (Maryland PTAC). The interactive seminar will provide insight into GSA Schedule contracts. Through GSA Schedule contracts, also known as Federal Supply Schedules, the GSA makes available to federal, state, and local government

On January 30, the Department of Defense (DoD) released the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) outlining cybersecurity requirements that DoD contractors and subcontractors must meet to certify they adequately satisfy the DoD standards. These new requirements may go into effect for certain procurements as soon as the end of September 2020.

In this 60-minute webinar,

We recently wrote about the impacts of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) on pending bids in Bloomberg Law and our GovCon & Trade Blog. A key point discussed in both articles is that a bidding company’s buyer may not have standing to protest if the buyer is not the complete successor-in-interest to the bidding company. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims recently affirmed this principle in a decision it handed down in the case of Centerline Logistics Corp. v. United States issued in May 2020.

The case involved Centerline’s protest of the U.S. Shipping Command’s determination that Centerline’s proposal to transport bulk fuel was “unacceptable.” Prior to the determination, the agency inquired as to whether Centerline was the complete successor-in-interest to Harley Marine Services (Harley Marine), the company that originally submitted the proposal to the agency, to which Centerline chose not to respond. Despite Centerline’s assertion to the court that it was the same legal entity as Harley Marine, the court found that Centerline was incorporated in Delaware, while Harley Marine was incorporated in Washington state, and that Mr. Harley, Harley Marine’s namesake, did not have an equity stake in Centerline. Further, the court could not ascertain whether Harley Marine retained some of its assets or if Centerline had sufficient assets to perform the contract. For these reasons, the court held that Centerline was not the complete successor-in-interest to Harley Marine and, thus, lacked standing to protest the agency’s determination.


Continue Reading Recent Decision Impacts Complete Successor-In-Interest Claims

On Wednesday, June 24, Bass, Berry & Sims continued its COVID-19 M&A Environment: Dealmaker Perspectives Webinar series with leading professionals in the government contracts services industry. The panelists included Bass, Berry & Sims members Jason Northcutt and Todd Overman, who were joined by Craig Reed, Chief Growth Officer and Senior Vice President at Serco; Kate Troendle, Director at KippsDeSanto & Company; and Eric Wolking, Operating Partner at Bluestone Investment Partners. A recording of the webinar can be found here.

The panelists’ discussion focused on market considerations for deal professionals in the new and evolving era of COVID-19. Some of the key takeaways from this installment are listed below.

  • Market Improvement Observations. As with other sectors, the government contracts services industry experienced a slowdown in deal flow as participants assessed the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and endured the chilling effects of the implementation of quarantine procedures. However, the government contracts services industry was impacted less severely than other industries as smaller, quality transactions continued to close over the past few months. Notably, the indexed share price performance for government services continued to trade above the S&P 500 and recently rebounded to near-record highs achieved in February.
    Continue Reading Key Takeaways from the COVID-19 M&A Environment: Government Contracts Dealmaker Perspectives Webinar

Join Bass, Berry & Sims attorneys and leading industry dealmakers for a series of lively panel discussions focused on the nuts and bolts of executing a buy- or sell-side deal in a post-pandemic environment. Each discussion in this series will focus on industry-specific guidance, including food and beverage, retail and healthcare, among others. The June 24 installment of the series will focus on the government contracts services industry.

With social distancing and travel limitations, regulatory changes and approvals, COVID-19-specific diligence, and financing considerations top of mind, our panelists from within the government contracts industry will share their experiences and perspectives on what deal professionals should consider in a new and evolving market.


Continue Reading COVID-19 M&A Environment Dealmaker Perspectives Webinar Series: Government Contracts Dealmaker Perspectives

This Friday, June 12, I will be participating in a Solvability Freedom Friday webinar discussing legal developments for government contractors during COVID-19.

Discussion topics will include the following:

  • PPP oversight and enforcement.
  • CBCA decisions on compensating contractors during a pandemic.
  • CMMC delays.
  • New WOSB certification program.

Details follow for this complimentary session:

Time: June 12