Data Rights, Licensing & IP Issues in Government Contracting


Protecting IP in the government contracting arena

Procurement agencies face increasing pressure to obtain larger shares of government contractor intellectual property (“IP”) and data rights during contract performance to facilitate future competition. But contractors need to be careful not to inadvertently or needlessly compromise their IP and data rights during the bidding process, or once they have obtained an award.

How We Can Help

Blank Rome’s government contracts attorneys have substantial experience in effectively addressing IP and data rights disputes, whether arising from efforts to win government contracts or performing ongoing contracts and government-funded programs. We counsel and, as necessary, litigate these issues, often collaborating with attorneys from our firm’s outstanding IP practice group. Our Government Contracts practice, named 2022 “Practice Group of the Year” by Law360, handles IP and data rights disputes of all sizes between contractors and numerous government agencies.

Our Successes

Representative examples of our experience successfully handling IP and data rights disputes include:

  • Representing contractors in data rights disputes with the government, including responses to government challenges of contractor data rights assertions and preparing for any necessary litigation at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (“CFC”).
  • Litigating Section 1498 patent infringement cases arising out of the performance of government contracts at the CFC. In one of these cases, we successfully represented a major contractor whose patent was being infringed in the performance of a government contract, and in so doing refuted the government’s claim that the contractor had waived its patent rights.
  • Representing government contractors as defendants or third-party defendants in patent infringement cases involving their performance of government contracts. In one of these matters, we obtained dismissal of a patent infringement suit brought in Federal District Court that sought to enjoin our client from performing a government contract.
  • Negotiating and preparing software licenses to be used in federal and state government contracts, and in related agreements such as subcontracts, teaming agreements, joint venture agreements.
  • Negotiating and preparing manufacturing and technical assistance agreements to facilitate performance of government contracts.
  • Counseling government contractors on IP and data rights issues arising in the submission of proposals responsive to Requests for Proposals. This includes, but is not limited to, legal strategies for responding to increasingly frequent government requests for technical data packages that provide the government greater data rights than it is entitled to under applicable regulations.
  • Counseling clients on protecting patent rights when inventions may take place during the performance of government contracts or government funded programs, such as Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (“CRADAs”).
  • Supporting due diligence of government contracts IP and data rights issues in acquisitions of government contractors.

What Sets Us Apart

Blank Rome maintains a nationally recognized Government Contracts practice that represents contractors in all aspects of federal, state, and local procurement law—from contract formation through close-out. Our clients span the industry, from companies new to the public sector to those in the Fortune 500; they include leaders in the defense, professional services, information technology, maritime, aviation, healthcare, energy, and construction sectors.

Our practice is widely recognized for our success in helping contractors resolve their most significant government contracts matters, including bid protests, claims, dispute resolution and litigation, government audits and investigations, False Claims Act (“FCA”) cases, mandatory disclosure issues, suspension and debarment, small business programs, and complex regulatory matters.

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