Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protest denied.
Keywords: Brand name or equal
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: In a brand-name-or-equal procurement, it is the offeror’s burden to demonstrate adequately that its proposed equal product meets the test required for substitution in the solicitation.
Mid-America Taping & Reeling, Inc. (Mid-America), a small business, protests the award of a contract by the Department of the Army under a request for quotations to supply and install dental chairs and equipment.
The Army issued the RFQ as a fixed-price commercial item solicitation, seeking quotations to supply and install 22 dental chairs and associated equipment. The RFQ specified each item by a brand name, listed a catalog number for each item, and stated that the requirements were for brand name or equal equipment. The RFQ also listed 18 salient characteristics. The RFQ contained a provision under FAR §52.211-6, which informs offerors that, to be considered for award, quotations for “equal” products had to include sufficient information to show that the offered items met the salient characteristics listed.
Mid-America’s quotation stated that the offered items were equal to the brand name specified in the RFQ and while the quotation briefly described each item, it did not stat whether the equipment complied with each of the salient characteristics listed. GAO states that it will review the record to ensure that the evaluation and source selection decision were reasonable and consistent with the terms of the solicitation and applicable procurement statutes and regulations. Here, the record shows that the agency reasonably determined that Mid-America’s quotation was unacceptable since Mid-America failed to address the salient characteristics, as required by the RFQ. The protest is denied.