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Government Released Proprietary Contractor Information

The Court of Federal Claims found the government liable for breach of contract because it released contractor information that was protected under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. The parties entered into the CRADA to share information concerning improvements to a conveyor system used to assemble aerial bombs. According to the contractor, the government disclosed proprietary contractor information to competitors and unauthorized government personnel, in violation of the CRADA, which enabled a competitor to win a contract award for a redesigned conveyer system.
Breach of Contract

After a three-day trial, the court concluded it was clear the government repeatedly breached its confidentiality obligations under the CRADA. The government did not comply with a provision requiring it to obtain written agreements of confidentiality from its employees and contractors. As a result, many government employees released the contractor's proprietary information while unaware of the CRADA's requirements. Also, the government violated a provision requiring it to limit disclosure of proprietary information to employees and contractors with a need to know, and by sharing information with contracting officials involved with the procurement for the redesigned system, and with others who did not need the information. Many government officials who obtained information were not involved with the CRADA, and personnel who had worked on the CRADA were also assigned to the procurement.
Disclosure to Competitors

Further, government officials requested proprietary information from the contractor under false pretenses, knowing the information would be incorporated into briefing materials and a solicitation, which led to the violation of a provision requiring the parties to confer and consult with each other prior to making a public disclosure. The government also supplied protected information to outside contractors in a draft solicitation and at a pre-solicitation conference where government personnel and contractors discussed the draft and the procurement. Damages were to be determined in a later proceeding. (Spectrum Sciences and Software, Inc. v. U.S., FedCl, 53 CCF 79,044)


(The news featured above is a selection from the news covered in the Government Contracts Report Letter, which is published weekly and distributed to subscribers of the Government Contracts Reporter. )


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