Avoiding Loss of Intellectual Property Rights During Government Contracting

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) provides a uniform policy for acquisition of supplies and services by U.S. federal government agencies.  The FAR is is like the tax code in that carelessness is dangerous.  One common point of carelessness concerns intellectual property rights.  Companies have inadvertently given the government licenses in source code and inventions because they did not conduct their business in accordance with the regulations.  In a recent presentation, Robert Cogan of Nath & Associates laid out several important points on the topic. [PPT].

The most common avoidable consequences of failing to follow the FAR include:

  • Having your proprietary notices on technical proposals ignored so that the government may publish them without violation of statute;
  • Inadvertently granting the government a license in an invention or in computer source code or object code; and
  • Allowing the government to procure products from competitors using your technical information.

Although it is important to maintain a good relationship with contracting officers, it is your responsibility to ‘say no’ to contract clauses that would result in a loss of your intellectual property.