Should vendors be held liable for counterfeit IT products?

The Federal Acquisition Regulations Council wants comments on whether contractors and resellers should be held liable if the technology products they are selling to the government are counterfeit.

In an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking in today’s Federal Register, the council says it will hold a public meeting Dec. 11 at NASA headquarters in Washington to discuss this issue.

“While it is estimated that our nation’s industries and government lose millions of dollars each year to counterfeiters, the trade in counterfeit IT products also presents serious threats to our national security and consumer safety,” the council wrote in the Federal Register notice. “The council believes requiring contractors to represent that the IT products they sell to the government are authentic, will aid in efforts to combat counterfeit IT products.”

The council also wants to know if these potential counterfeit liability requirements should be extended to other items agencies purchase, and whether the proposal should include technology components of a system or an assembled product.

As the proposed rule stands now, contractors would have to be the original manufacturer of the hardware or software, or have written authorization from the original manufacturer to be an authorized reseller or distributor. The proposal also does not limit the contractor’s liability if they sell a counterfeit product.

For more information: Federal Register – Advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on authentic IT products

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