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UGA40

Does MIL-SPEC Constitue Brand Name

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We are having a discussion in our office pertaining to a new requirement. It is for a supply that must meet a certain MIL-SPEC. Market Research has determined that only 2 manufacturers are able to produce the supply that meets the MIL-SPEC. Does this constitute a brand name justification? On one hand any vendor can provide the product if it meets the MIL-SPEC, but on the other hand only 2 sources are able to supply the product which seems to limit competition.

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FAR 11.104 contrasts performance specifications to brand name or equal. As I understand military specifications, they describe the physical and/or operational characteristics of a product.

11.104 –Use of Brand Name or Equal Purchase Descriptions.

(a) While the use of performance specifications is preferred to encourage offerors to propose innovative solutions, the use of brand name or equal purchase descriptions may be advantageous under certain circumstances.

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See also FAR 11.201

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30 minutes ago, Jamaal Valentine said:

FAR 11.104 contrasts performance specifications to brand name.

11.104 –Use of Brand Name or Equal Purchase Descriptions.

(a) While the use of performance specifications is preferred to encourage offerors to propose innovative solutions, the use of brand name or equal purchase descriptions may be advantageous under certain circumstances.

******************************************

See also FAR 11.201 and http://www.dsp.dla.mil/Policy-Guidance/FAQs/Performance-Specifications/

Thanks Jamaal. It just seems that if only two manufacturers can meet the specification it is limiting competition.

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Hopefully that helps.

How do you know that only two can? Why does it matter? FAR 2.101 states '“Full and open competition,” when used with respect to a contract action, means that all responsible sources are permitted to compete.'

MIL-STD, MIL-PRF, MIL-DTL, etc. appear to be separable from brand-name in that they are not manufacturer-centric.

Try reviewing FAR 11.002(a). Do you believe FAR 6.302-1 applies to your action? If yes, in what ways?

I provided info regarding the original question asked. There is too little info about the contract action to offer much else. Based on FAR 11.002 and what's provided, I don't believe a brand-name or sole source action is required/appropriate.

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1 hour ago, UGA40 said:

We are having a discussion in our office pertaining to a new requirement. It is for a supply that must meet a certain MIL-SPEC. Market Research has determined that only 2 manufacturers are able to produce the supply that meets the MIL-SPEC. Does this constitute a brand name justification? On one hand any vendor can provide the product if it meets the MIL-SPEC, but on the other hand only 2 sources are able to supply the product which seems to limit competition.

@UGA40

No. Specification of your requirement by MIL-SPEC is not specification by brand name. Brand name specification is specification by brand name. Nor does it violate FAR 11.105, as long as your requirement is valid.

By the way: Think! ALL specification limit competition to some extent. The question is whether the specification is unduly restrictive.

Here's the key: If anyone challenges your use of the MIL-SPEC as unduly restrictive, you must be able to point out clearly and precisely what your requirement is and why only a product that complies with the MIL-SPEC satisfies that requirement. You must be clear and precise!

Keep in mind that many MIL-SPECs are old and out of date inn comparison with current technology, and that a more current specification might not include the very thing that you claim that you absolutely must have. Your technical folks might not be up to date in that regard (although they may insist that they are). In fact, they may have developed their "requirement" based on the MIL-SPEC in question and not on current knowledge and independent anaysis.

Be prepared to describe your market research in specific detail to show that you didn't just glom on to the MIL-SPEC without investigation. Magnum Products, Inc. B-265604.

For a procurement involving brand name or equal specifications in which the salient characteristics were based on a military specification see Herley Industries, Inc. B-246326.

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