This case involves a firm that developed a bid on an upgrade project for a commercial real estate property. They had conducted extensive research on the property, including several site visits, to learn about the circumstances of the property before bidding. An opposing firm subsequently placed a bid on the property without having physically visited the grounds and won the project. The plaintiff firm alleged that the defense obtained their opposition’s confidential bid and used those documents to prepare their own bid. An expert in the security system industry was sought to review the bids and opine on whether the defendant engaged in unfair competition practices.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please describe your experience in the security systems industry as it pertains to project bids and proposals.
- 2. Is an on-site investigation required in order to prepare and proved a quote for a project? Please explain.
- 3. Is the use of confidential information and trade secrets required in order to prepare a quote for a project? Please explain.
Expert Witness Response E-156065
I have 20+ years of experience developing and designing security systems for clients of various verticals and market sectors. I have both developed RFP (requests for proposal) for clients who are looking to obtain the services of a consultant and RFP for clients who are looking to obtain services of a security vendor/integrator. As the leader of my business for the Americas, I develop responses to proposal requests for professional services. As a consultant, I review submitted proposal from contractors for bid compliance, technical and cost response, etc. This is a subjective question. I always recommend an on-site investigation prior to any contractor developing a bid response. It is the contractor’s responsibility to become aware of any site conditions which may or may not affect their response and proposed fee. On-site investigations can identify a project challenge, ie. 30′ high ceilings vs standard 10′ high ceilings require different ladders and different OSHA certified team members, etc. The RFP may not specifically call this out, but the on-site investigation would make this a known condition. If confidential information is required in order to develop the bid response, this information should be provided to all parties after they have completed an NDA. I would not say trade secrets are directly applicable to this case, except that the plaintiff may have had prior knowledge of the building from prior work they may have completed. I would not call this a “trade secret,” but I would call it intuitional knowledge from prior working experience and not something that they would need to share with the other bidders.