One of the most perplexing questions that has plagued the government contracting community in recent years relates to the country of origin for computer software. Where most government procurements restrict the purchase of products that were not manufactured or substantially transformed in an approved country, the question of where software is “substantially transformed” is one of critical importance – particularly where the government buys more and more software products, and particularly where those software products are distributed via direct download. The Department of U.S. Customs and Border Protection has long resisted issuing any authoritative guidance on the country of origin for computer software, leaving industry to reach its own conclusions, conclusions that hopefully will be adjudged as reasonable in the event of later Government scrutiny or challenge. But Customs has recently issued an advisory opinion that may finally shed some light on this dark and murky topic.
Continue Reading Country of Origin for Computer Software – U.S. Customs Finally Sheds Some Light on the Issue

The United States has long been the world’s principal purchaser of (a) research and development services, (b) the products generated by the R&D, and (c) the intellectual property relating to that R&D.  Historically, Government-funded R&D has evoked images of an omnipresent, overly intrusive, audit-fixated purchaser bent on levying a host of required terms and conditions on the seller, many of which are wholly unrelated to the underlying R&D and are designed solely to advance socio-economic policies and preferences. For these (and other) reasons, companies, particularly new and emerging companies, are often reluctant to accept federal funding to advance their privately conceived and privately developed ideas.Continue Reading A Brief Guide to Alternative Contracting Arrangements for R&D