ITAA opposes anti-counterfeiting proposal

A government anti-counterfeiting proposal that would require federal contractors to certify the authenticity of their products would create major liabilities for contractors, the Information Technology Association of America has said.

“We believe the language clearly creates an unlimited liability for entities who certify that an item is authentic, if the item is subsequently found not to be authentic,” Trey Hodgkins, vice president of federal government programs for the ITAA, said Jan 22.

Such liabilities could easily cost contractors millions and impose a huge and unreasonable burden on them to guarantee authenticity throughout a supply chain of dozens or even thousands of suppliers, Hodgkins added. Certifying authenticity for large contractors and systems integrators would be extremely difficult or impossible, he added.

Small businesses would also be at risk, he said. “For small businesses, they will not be able to assume that type of liability,” Hodgkins said. “They will have to look at modifying their business or getting out.”

The ITAA is urging government to withdraw the proposal, Hodgkins wrote in a Jan. 20 letter to the General Services Administration. Federal agencies would be better served fighting counterfeiting by using existing legal channels and regulations applicable to contractors, he wrote.

The acquisition councils that deal with federal acquisition issues put forth the Federal Acquisition Regulation anti-counterfeiting proposal as Case 2008-019, published on Nov. 18, 2008.

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