The Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2014 required the U.S. Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) to establish an electronic docketing system for bid protests. Now, four years later, there are indications that the GAO might be moving to the Electronic Protest Docketing System (“EPDS”) sometime this year. Before going live with EPDS, the GAO is implementing a pilot program in which certain protests already filed at the GAO will be moved into EPDS. The pilot program will ensure that EPDS is fully operational before it goes live and becomes the sole means for filing a bid protest at the GAO.
Unlike the GAO’s current Bid Protest Docket, which users can freely peruse, EPDS will require registration. However, users do not need to have a pending protest in order to register for EPDS – they can do so at any point once EPDS is publically available. Further, once EPDS is established, there will be a $350 filing fee for protests. Currently, there is no fee for filing a protest at GAO. The GAO has said that the filing fee will be used to operate and maintain EPDS. If your protest is moved to EPDS as part of the pilot program, there will be no filing fee. While a filing fee for protests is not ideal for protesters, we expect that having a functional electronic docketing system will benefit our clients by streamlining the exchange of documents between parties and monitoring activity in the protest.