Tina Reynolds spoke to Law360 about the pros and cons related to the government’s use of prize contests to solicit the private sector’s help for solving problems related to the coronavirus.
“If you come up with some brilliant idea, and submit it to an agency to get a $5,000 cash prize but in doing so in any way impact your ability to patent that invention or necessarily give license rights to the government, that can be a barrier to some of these companies really wanting to fully disclose their ideas for the government,” Tina said. “Giving too much information to the government without the protections you would have in the normal contracting process is…a potential downside for the contest participants.”
Tina added that on the plus side, companies who haven’t previously done business with the government can use a prize challenge to “dip their toe in the water a little bit,” without the binding acquisition regulations and other requirements that come along with a formal contract.
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