Well, as with anything from the government, there appears to be conflicting rules being issued. At first glance when you look at 15 U.S.C. 644 (g) (1) it requires that a minimum of 23% of the value of all federal prime contracts issued are being issued to small businesses. President Obama issued a memorandum (Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies,Subject: Government Contracting, dated March 4, 2009) that called for 5 main objectives including to clarify the role of when functions should be performed by federal employees and when independent contractors may be used. When you consider this memo and read between the lines of actions by this administration it is clear that the size of the government workforce will be growing. If indeed that is the case, will it not take more of the federal contracting "pie" from small businesses? Most of the small business content has consisted of services provided to the government so by pulling more work into the government itself, this would logically have to reduce some of the small business contracting, wouldn't it? I know this is not the intent of the administration and if you ask, they will certainly say that is not the case. I rather suspect that this requirement will put more pressure on existing federal employees that are involved with the procurement of goods and services for the government, the contracting officers. As most small business people that do work with the federal government learn, the contracting officer (CO) is in control of your situation in a government contract. If the workload of the CO becomes more difficult, they will try to maximize their effectiveness by taking the path of least resistance. What this means to small business is that they must take extra care to make sure they meet the requirements of the RFQ and make the CO's job as easy as possible. This includes making sure your accounting system meets all the FAR guidelines and your indirect billing rates are up to speed.
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Patent rights and protection of the invention for small business has always been a topic of discussion. Questions such as "who has the patent rights", "What does an unrestricted license to the government mean" to "When should I file and how much will it cost me" are constantly on the minds of small businesses, especially those who do product development partially or wholly funded by government grants. There is currently a bill in the house (H.R. 1260/S.515) which proposes significant change to the US patent law. Currently the rights are associated with establishing which applicant actually invented the claimed invention first. Most of the rest of the world, however, was operating under the "first-inventor- to-file" system. The new bill will more closely align the US law with international norms. The Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy invited many small businesses, patent attorneys that work traditionally with small business and venture capitalists that typically fund technology driven small businesses to a round table in May to voice opinions of the proposed new law. There is definitely a feeling in this group that the law could penalize small businesses, many of which don't have the money to file the patent early. It was also believed that the new regulation would increase the number of filings as well as limit the current method of raising capital that involved limited disclosure during the invention process (but this is prior to the patent filing). There was a proposed compromise from the round table group that involved moving to a "first-inventor-to-file" system while retaining the current "grace period" that is part of the current system. Personally I think we need to make it easier for the small business to obtain a patent, not more difficult. We should not penalize small business. Compromises like those proposed at the SBA's round table meeting will be needed to make sure the interests of small business are maintained. I suggest voicing your opinion on this topic.Read More
Well, it's time again. Deltek's annual Conference of users and prospective users is next week in Washington D.C. This event is a great opportunity to learn more about the Deltek accounting software, learn about new releases and to network with existing users. This is a time to learn more about government contract management. Yes, it tends to be a little expensive, they charge $1,300 in addition to the travel expenses required. The return is that all of the "experts" from the Deltek organization are in one place and you can easily get any questions answered about the software, its capabilities or meet potential customers or partners. They offer excellent conference sessions on everything from details such as "Pool Structures for every Client Level" to "Surviving a Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) Audit". Tech Biz will be doing one of the seminar sessions entitled "The Art and Science of Indirect Rates". Dave Donley will be presenting this topic. Dave, as many of you know, is highly knowledgeable in the area of indirect rates and has an extensive career in government contracting. If you don't have the time or money to attend Insight 2010 but would like to learn more about Dave's presentation, please either call me at 303-867-8125 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will fill you in.Read More
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Last year when the economy “tanked” many small businesses looked to the one customer that was still spending money, the Federal Government.