On November 7, 2007, the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council (Councils) issued the long-awaited final rule in FAR Case 1999-402, amending FAR Part 27 to clarify, streamline and update text and clauses related to patents, data, and copyrights. 72 Fed. Reg. 63045 (Nov. 7, 2007). Four years in the making, the final rule amends Part 27 to make it more understandable to the reader, resolve internal inconsistencies and update various policies and procedures to comply with current statutory and regulatory requirements.
The Councils declined to accept a number of recommended changes they received during the public comment period that they considered to be substantive in nature and therefore beyond the scope of the case. Among the proposed changes the Councils rejected was a recommendation to modify FAR 27.404 and its clauses to clarify that the Government gains unlimited rights in technical data funded exclusively at private expense only when delivery of that data is required as an element of performance of the contract and is necessary to ensure the competitive acquisition of supplies or services in the future. In declining to address this issue, the Councils noted that "Part 27 addresses delivery requirements independently of the license rights in those deliverables" and stated that "any significant change in the overall scheme for specifying delivery requirements or license rights is beyond the scope of this plain language rewrite." Nonetheless, they recognized that this issue (and others) may be appropriate for future rulemaking efforts. The final rule goes into effect on December 7, 2007.