As we discussed in a recent post, the Supreme Court’s decision in Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. United States left a number of questions unanswered regarding the implementation of set-aside requirements for veteran-owned small businesses under Federal Supply Schedule (“FSS”) contracts.  The decision has already had repercussions outside the set-aside context, with the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently applying Kingdomware’s reasoning in Coast Professional, Inc. v United States to confirm bid protest jurisdiction under the Tucker Act for orders placed under FSS contracts.

Congressional testimony subsequent to Kingdomware also now confirms that a number of agencies are considering whether the Supreme Court’s decision has broader implications for other small business programs.  Specifically, the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) has publically recognized that the Supreme Court’s reasoning may extend beyond a relatively narrow statute governing U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) set asides and require significant changes to long-standing principles established under the Small Business Act.  As result, the VA’s and the SBA’s interests may no longer be aligned as the agencies attempt to reconcile currently differing implementations of related set-aside programs.


Continue Reading SBA Considers Potential Consequences of Kingdomware Technologies

Recent decisions by the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) Office of Hearings and Appeals (“OHA”) and the Court of Federal Claims offer important advice to anyone in the process of drafting and negotiating a mentor/protégé joint venture agreement:  Be specific.  Those agreements, in many cases, are the crown jewel of the mentor-protégé program enabling mentors and protégés to work together on set-aside opportunities that they would not otherwise have been eligible.  And like anything of great value, it should not be taken for granted.  Instead, as a matter of meeting both regulatory requirements and best practice, mentor/protégé joint venture agreements should specifically list all resources, equipment and facilities (and their estimated values) that each party will provide and detail how work will be shared between the joint venture members.
Continue Reading OHA and COFC Agree: Mentor/Protégé JV Agreements Must Be Specific to Avoid Affiliation

In Size Appeal of NMC/Wollard Inc., SBA No. SIZ-5668, the Small Business Administration Office of Hearings and Appeals (“OHA”) clarified the three factor test used to determine whether a small business qualifies as a manufacturer of the end item being procured.  The decision confirmed that no single factor has greater weight than the others, and that a small business can be a manufacturer despite contributing a small percentage of the value of the end item if the contribution was essential to the end item’s function.

Under applicable SBA regulations, a small business manufacturer “is the concern which, with its own facilities, performs the primary activities in transforming inorganic or organic substances, including the assembly of parts and components, into the end item being acquired.”  13 C.F.R. § 121.406(b)(2).  The regulations set forth a three factor test to determine whether a small business is the manufacturer of the end item:

  1. The proportion of total value in the end item added by the efforts of the concern, excluding costs of overhead, testing, quality control, and profit;
  2. The importance of the elements added by the concern to the function of the end item, regardless of their relative value; and
  3. The concern’s technical capabilities; plant, facilities and equipment; production or assembly line processes; packaging and boxing operations; labeling of products; and product warranties.

13 C.F.R. § 121.406(b)(2)(i)(A)-(C).


Continue Reading SBA OHA: In Three-Factor Test to Determine Small Business Manufacturers, No Single Factor is Determinative