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  • Question

    Does a certification requirement that can be obtained from only one company require a brand name justification (FAR 6.302-1(c))? We're not buying the keycard system under this contract. We're only buying the service to maintain an existing system.


    Answer

    A brand name justification may or may not be required under FAR 6.302-1 -- Only One Responsible Source and No Other Supplies or Services Will Satisfy Agency Requirements.

    (c) Application for brand name descriptions. An acquisition that uses a brand name description or other purchase description to specify a particular  brand name, product, or feature of a product, peculiar to one manufacturer does not provide for full and open competition regardless of the number of sources solicited. It shall be justified and approved in accordance with FAR 6.303 and 6.304. The justification should indicate that the use of such descriptions in the acquisition is essential to the Government’s requirements, thereby precluding consideration of a product manufactured by another company. See 5.102(a)(6) for the requirement to post the brand name justification. (Brand-name or equal descriptions, and other purchase descriptions that permit prospective contractors to offer products other than those specifically referenced by brand name, provide for full and open competition and do not require justifications and approvals to support their use.)



    You are advised to do a little more market research.  Since you are not buying the LENEL system and are just buying a service in which the technicians need to be certified by LENEL to work on the LENEL system this does not seem to preclude full and open competition. However, if the certification can only be obtained via LENEL or specific partners of LENEL then this would hinder competition.  If anyone can obtain this certification from sources other than LENEL or its specific partners, a Justification and Approval may not be required.
    You are advised to:
    1)  Conduct more extensive market research to find out what the certification process entails through LENEL and if it restricts full and open competition by restricting who can certify.
    2)  Thoroughly document all of your findings in the contract file for future use.
    In the event your market research shows a restriction to the spirit of full and open competition, or even the perception of a restriction, the information you obtain will put you in position to write the Justification and Approval you may find to be required. The additional market research will enable you to easily validate your position either way.

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