Protest of Navy Contract Award

B-194649: Aug 30, 1979

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The Navy Ships Parts Control Center issued a request for proposals (RFP) for translator synthesizers. A small business firm, Radionics, Inc., protested the award of the contract to a large business, Stewart-Warner Corp., for the non-set-aside portion of a 50-percent small business set-aside, and also the proposed dissolution of the partial set-aside and award to the large firm for that quantity. According to the RFP, all offerors were required to submit items conforming to a Bendix Corporation technical data package owned by the Government. After awarding the non-set-aside quantity to Stewart-Warner, the Navy initiated telephone negotiations with Radionics for award of the set-aside portion. Radionics stated that it had to see the Stewart-Warner unit, but the Navy replied that limited rights restrictions had been imposed by Stewart-Warner. Radionics protested to the Navy that this situation was restrictive to small business, because it permitted Stewart-Warner, a large business, to offer a proprietary version of the translator synthesizer which was cheaper to build than other versions and thus inhibited small business competition. GAO held that this argument was without merit. While Stewart-Warner's unit was proprietary and prior approval was required, this did not unduly retrict competition. Several functionally interchangeable configurations of the required translator synthesizer had been approved by the Navy, and the prior approval requirement did not prevent other offerors from competing equally on the basis of their own or other configurations. Since the small business did not accept award at the price offered on the unrestricted portion, dissolution of the partial small business set-aside did not violate the statutory requirement that a "fair share" of Government contracts be awarded to small business. There is no requirement that any particular procurement must be awarded to small business. The protest was denied.