BOARD OF CONTRACT APPEALS
   U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
   WASHINGTON, DC  20401

In the Matter of            )
                            )
the Appeal of               )
                            )
PROFESSIONAL PRINTING       )      Docket No. GPO BCA 02-93
  OF KANSAS, INC.           )
Jacket No. 325-149          )
Purchase Order 87604        )

   DECISION AND ORDER

   This appeal, timely filed by Professional Printing of Kansas,
   Inc. (Appellant or Contractor), 315 Constitution, Empire,
   Kansas 66801, is from the final decision of Contracting
   Officer James L. Leonard, of the U.S. Government Printing
   Office's (Respondent or GPO or Government) Printing
   Procurement Department, Washington, DC 20401, dated December
   14, 1992, rejecting the Contractor's equitable adjustment
   claim for reprinting forms initially produced under its
   contract identified as Jacket No. 325-149, Purchase Order
   87604, and rejected by the Government (R4 File, Tab X).1  On
   October 13, 1993, and October 14, 1993, respectively, a
   hearing was conducted by the Board for the purpose of
   developing evidence on the issues involved in the case.2  At
   the hearing, both parties were represented by counsel, who,
   thereafter, filed timely briefs with the Board addressing the
   issues involved.3  Board Rules, Rule 23.  From the record in
   this case, including the evidence developed at the hearing and
   the posthearing briefs of the parties, the Contracting
   Officer's decision rejecting the first shipment of forms is
   REVERSED and REMANDED.  To the extent that the Appellant seeks
   payment for the undelivered forms in its plant which are from
   the same production run as the rejected forms, the appeal is
   DENIED.

   I. BACKGROUND

   A. Chronology of Events

   This dispute arises from a contract awarded to the Appellant
   on July 10, 1992, to print 600,000 pads of a "Security
   Prescription Form" (SPF)-a total of 60,000,000 SPFs-for the
   U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at a contract price
   of $533,000.00 (R4 File, Tab E).4  Under the contract, 100,000
   pads were to be shipped to the VA by July 27, 1992, with the
   remainder of the order delivered by August 17, 1992 (R4 File,
   Tab A, p. 3).

   The following contract specifications for the SPFs are
   relevant to this appeal:

      PRODUCT: Padded form.  Numbering required.

   * * * * * * * * * *

      GOVERNMENT TO FURNISH:

      Offset film negatives for the black printing and a sample
      for use as a guide for the security tint background.

      One reproduction proof, Form 905 (R. 3/90) with labeling
      and marking specifications.

      Identification markings such as register marks, ring
      folios, rubber stamped jacket numbers, commercial
      identification marks of any kind, etc., except GPO imprint,
      form number, and revision date, carried on copy or film,
      must not print on finished product.

      CONTRACTOR TO FURNISH: All materials and operations, other
      than those listed under "Government to Furnish," necessary
      to produce the product(s) in accordance with these
      specifications.

      PROOFS: None required.

   * * * * * * * * * *

      PRINTING: Print head to head.  Face prints in black and in
      a match of Pantone 287 blue ink and back prints in black
      ink only.  On face, the black linematter overprints a blue
      background (background bleeds all sides).  Background
      (printing media to be created by the contractor) is a
      security tint with a "VOID" dropout pattern.  The word
      "VOID" (each letter to be approx. 5/8" high) must appear at
      least 3 times (vertically, horizontally and diagonally) and
      must not be visible on the printed sheet, but must appear
      when the sheet is reproduced by electrostatic means.5

      NUMBERING: Number in a match of Pantone 185 red ink on face
      of form in a space 1-7/8 x 3/16", in the right portion of
      the form, approx. 1-3/4" from top edge, in numbers 3/16"
      high.  Number from 36000001 through 96000000.  No missing
      numbers.  Numbering is parallel to the 5-1/2" dimension.6

   * * * * * * * * * *

      QUALITY ASSURANCE LEVELS AND STANDARDS:7 The following
      levels and standards shall apply to these specifications:

      Product Quality Levels:

         (a) Printing Attributes-Level III.

         (b) Finishing Attributes-Level III.

      Inspection Levels (from MIL-STD-105):

         (a) Non-destructive Tests-General Inspection Level I.

         (b) Destructive Tests-Special Inspection Level S-2.

      Specified Standards: The specified standards for the
      attributes requiring them shall be:

         Attribute             Specified Standard

      P-7. Type Quality and
            Uniformity         Furnished Camera Copy

      P-9. Solid and Screen
            Tint Color Match      Pantone Matching System

      QUALITY ASSURANCE RANDOM SAMPLES: The contractor may be
      required to submit quality assurance random  copies to test
      for compliance against specifications.  The purchase order/
      specifications will indicate the number required, if any.
      When ordered, the contractor must divide the entire order
      lot into equal sublots and select a copy from a different
      general area of each sublot.  The contractor will be
      required to execute a statement furnished by GPO certifying
      that copies were selected as directed.  Copies will be paid
      for at the running rate offered in the contractor's bid and
      their cost will not be a consideration for award.  A copy
      of the purchase/order specifications must be included.


See, R4 File, Tab A, pp. 1-3 (Contract Specifications).

   In addition to these specifications, the contract was also
   governed by applicable articles of GPO Contract Terms,
   Solicitation Provisions, Supplemental Specifications, and
   Contract Clauses, GPO Publication 310.2, effective December 1,
   1987 (Rev. 9-88) (GPO Contract Terms).  See, R4 File, Tab A,
   p. 1 (Contract Specifications).  In pertinent part, GPO
   Contract Terms contains the following relevant supplemental
   specification:

      1. Quality.

      (a) The quality requirements indicated in the
      specifications represent the minimum acceptable level.

      (b) Notwithstanding the minimum acceptable level, the
      following shall also apply:

         (1) Printing and binding shall be held to a high
         standard of imposition; makeready; press running; clear,
         sharp printing; binding ; and good quality in every
         respect.

   * * * * * * * * * *

      (c) Contractors must have a quality control system that
      will assert product quality acceptable to the Government.
      See article 14 "Inspection and Tests" of Contract Clauses.

      (d) Specific quality requirements are further defined in
      [QATAP].



See, GPO Contract Terms, Supplemental Specifications-General, 
1(a)-(d) (Quality).  Furthermore, the following contract clauses
are also relevant:

      1. Contractual Responsibility.

      Awards by GPO for printing, binding, and related services
      are the sole responsibility of GPO and not of its customer
      agencies.  Modifications shall have no force or effect
      unless addressed before the fact to and subsequently
      confirmed in writing by the Contracting Officer.  Failure
      to comply with this article may be cause for nonpayment of
      additional costs incurred or rejection of the order.

      2. Order of Precedence.

      In the event of an inconsistency, the inconsistency shall
      be resolved by giving precedence in the following order:
      (a) specifications; (b) supplemental specifications; (c)
      solicitation provisions; (d) contract clauses; and (e)
      other provisions whether incorporated by reference or
      otherwise.

   * * * * * * * * * *

      7. Government Furnished Property (GPF).

      The contractor is required to examine the furnished
      property immediately upon receipt.  If at that time there
      is disagreement with the description or the requirements as
      presented in the specification (or print order/GPO Form
      2511), and prior to the performance of any work, the
      contractor shall contact the U.S. Government Printing
      Office, Central Office Printing Procurement Division,
      Washington, DC 20401, or the originating Regional Printing
      Procurement Office, and contest the description.  (Failure
      to examine the GFP/specifications and bring any
      discrepancies to the attention of the Contracting Officer
      will not relieve the contractor of responsibility to
      perform.)  The Contracting Officer will then investigate
      and make a determination which will be final.  If the
      decision is reached that the original description is
      proper, the contractor will be required to proceed with the
      work.  Failure to agree to the description shall be a
      dispute within the meaning of article 5 "Disputes.". . .
      [Original emphasis.]

   * * * * * * * * * *

      14. Inspection and Tests.

   * * * * * * * * * *

      (b) The contractor shall provide and maintain an inspection
      system acceptable to the GPO covering supplies under the
      contract and shall tender to the Government for acceptance
      only supplies that have been inspected in accordance with
      the inspection system and have been found by the contractor
      to be in conformity with contract requirements. . . .

      (c) The Government has the right to inspect and test all
      supplies called for, to the extent practicable, at all
      places and times, including the period of manufacture, and
      in any event before acceptance.  The Government shall
      perform inspections and tests in a manner that will not
      unduly delay performance and assumes no contractual
      obligation to perform any inspection and test for the
      benefit of the contractor unless specifically set forth
      elsewhere.

   * * * * * * * * * *

      (f) The Government has the right either to reject or to
      require correction of nonconforming supplies.  Supplies are
      nonconforming when they are defective in material or
      workmanship or are otherwise not in conformity with
      requirements.  The Government may reject nonconforming
      supplies with or without disposition instructions.

See, GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses,  1 (Contractual
Responsibility), 2 (Order of Precedence), 7 (Government Furnished
Property (GPF)), 14 (Inspection and Tests).

   The record discloses that this was the Appellant's first
   "VOID" pantograph job, although it was familiar with the
   process (Tr. 51, 127-28).  However, the Contractor was
   planning to have the films for the "VOID" security feature
   made by a company that buys the screen directly from
   Pantograph, and thus it was confident about its ability to
   perform (Tr. 55).  Before the Appellant could begin
   performance, the prior contractor for the SPFs, Standard
   Register, informed the parties that it held the patent for the
   "VOID" dropout pattern, and that the Contractor would be
   guilty of patent infringement if it used the pattern (R4 File,
   Tabs B and C).8  Consequently, in order to produce the job,
   the Appellant had to acquire the right to use the patent,
   which it did by entering a licensing agreement with Standard
   Register in July 1992 (Tr. 128, 149, 151, 234-35).  The
   licensing agreement only covered the use of the "VOID"
   security feature, and nothing else-e.g., screens or other
   support, identification of the reproduction standards, a
   warranty with respect to copying, etc.-was provided by
   Standard Register (Tr. 236-38).  The record shows that 34
   other companies also hold licenses to use the Standard
   Register "VOID" security pattern (Tr. 151, 235).  See, R4
   File, Tab B.

   Under the terms of the contract the Government-furnished
   material (GFM) included, inter alia, ". . . a sample for use
   as a guide for the security tint background".  See, R4 File,
   Tab A, p. 1 (Contract Specifications).  On July 10, 1992, when
   the Contractor picked up the GFM it discovered that instead of
   a sample of an old SPF, the Respondent had supplied a copy of
   a specimen check from an unrelated job (Tr. 12-13, 33, 56, 57,
   137; 148; App. Exh. No. 1; R4 File, Tab F).9  Accordingly,
   John Gallagher, the Appellant's Production Coordination
   Manager, telephoned GPO and spoke to Anthony Hooks, a Printing
   Specialist in the Contracts Branch of the GPO's Purchase
   Division (Tr. 7, 15).  Gallagher informed him that the sample
   provided to the Contractor for the SPF security background was
   a specimen check, and he asked Hooks to send a sample of the
   previous job (Tr. 16, 40).10  Hooks told Gallagher that the
   kind of sample he requested was not available, and that the
   Appellant should follow the specifications in performing the
   work (Tr. 18, 136).

   After talking to Hooks, Gallagher spoke to his boss, Cripps,
   about the matter.  Gallagher told Cripps that he was confused
   by the sample received from the Government and wanting to know
   the Appellant was supposed to produce a check instead of a
   prescription form (Tr. 49, 57).  Cripps was also bewildered by
   the sample check, especially with regard to the security
   background pattern, so he also called Hooks and asked for a
   clarification and a proper sample (Tr. 57-58, 148, 185,
   334).11  Hooks repeated what he had told Gallagher, namely
   that no other sample was available and the Appellant should be
   guided by the specifications (Tr. 58, 229).  See, GPO Contract
   Terms, Contract Clauses,  2 (Order of Precedence).  In
   addition, Hooks instructed Cripps to use a parchment-type
   background, block letters and straight lines for the SPFs (Tr.
   59).

   Although the contract specifications said that proofs were not
   required, the record shows that on or about July 15, 1992,
   after talking to Hooks, Cripps told Gallagher to prepare a
   proof of the job and send it to GPO (Tr. 21-23, 42; App. Exh.
   No. 3).12  However, the proof, which consists of: (1) an
   original glossy photograph of the SPF; (2) a photocopy of the
   glossy; and (3) an acetate overlay, was not sent to GPO
   because the Contractor was advised that no proof was required
   by the specifications and the Government did not want one (Tr.
   24, 43, 274).13

   After the Government declined to examine the proof, the
   Appellant proceeded to produce the job.  Although the
   Contractor was in contact with the GPO's Quality Assurance
   (QA) staff while it was printing the original SPFs, the
   undisputed evidence shows that during this time it was never
   told of any equipment standards-i.e., the range, type or name
   of photocopiers -against which the forms would be measured
   (Tr. 125, 156).14  According to the Appellant, while the
   "PRINTING" specification would technically be met if the
   "VOID" pantograph appeared when tested on its plant
   photocopier, it did not believe that success on one copier
   would be enough to satisfy the Government (Tr. 164, 229-30).15
   The Contractor knew that the SPFs would eventually be used on
   an entire range of photocopiers which are generally accessible
   to the public, so it tested the forms on several other copy
   machines prior to shipment (Tr. 157-59, 164, 165, 177).16
   Once the Appellant was satisfied that the form would reproduce
   as required, it shipped the first lot of 100,000 SPF pads to
   the Government.17

   On or about August 7, 1992, shortly after the first delivery
   was received, the VA complained to Ms. Barbara McBride, a
   Printing Specialist in GPO's Customer Service Division, that
   the SPFs were full of quality defects, including the one at
   issue here, "Does not void" (Tr. 261, 306; R4 File, Tab H).
   Subsequently, the VA prepared a "Notice of Quality Defects"
   (GPO Form 1815), and sent it to GPO along with random samples
   of the Appellant's SPFs and, for purposes of comparison, the
   forms previously produced by Standard Register (marked "Old")
   (Tr. 70-72, 289, 295).  The sample forms were given to John
   Nowalk of QA's Contract Management Division, for testing.

   Although there were several defects in the VA's complaint,
   Nowalk only evaluated the forms for the reproduction quality
   of the "VOID" pantograph (Tr. 261).18  Nowalk tested the forms
   on two photocopiers in GPO-one in the Term Contracts Division
   (Room A-843) and the other in the General Counsel's Office
   (Room C-814).  However, he could not get the word "VOID" to
   appear on either of them, and determined that the SPFs did not
   meet specifications (Tr. 261-62; R4 File, Tab K).19  After
   finishing his tests, Nowalk reported the results to Leonard.
   The Contracting Officer also tried copying samples of the SPFs
   on the Canon copier in his office, but could not get the word
   "VOID" to appear either (Tr. 262, 266).

   Therefore, on the morning of August 11, 1992, pursuant to
   directions received from Leonard, Hooks telephoned Gallagher
   to tell him about the VA's complaint, and instructed the
   Appellant to stop production and not ship the remainder of the
   forms (Tr. 24-25, 40, 43-44, 156, 221-22, 224-25; App. Exh.
   No. 4).20  In response to Gallagher's question asking what the
   problem was, Hooks said that he did not know (Tr. 25).
   However, later that day Hooks called back and told Gallagher
   that the Appellant should restart production of the forms but
   still not ship them (Tr. 25, 30, 40, 224-25, 226; App. Exh.
   No. 4).  During this conversation, Hooks outlined, in general,
   the scope of the problem with the delivered SPFs, namely, that
   there were defects in the "VOID" pantograph, the numbers on
   the forms, and the ink color (Tr. 25-26, 45; App. Exh. No. 4).

   Notwithstanding Hooks' instructions to continue printing,
   Gallagher stopped the job until he could find out from the
   Respondent precisely what defects were involved, so the
   Appellant could correct them (Tr. 28, 45).  At the same time,
   Gallagher informed Cripps that there was a serious quality
   problem with the job (Tr. 129).  Specifically, he told Cripps
   that the VA had complained about three defects in particular;
   i.e., the sequential numbering, the "VOID" pantograph and the
   ink color (Tr. 129, 155).  Therefore, Cripps checked the
   numbers and the ink on samples of the form, and was satisfied
   that both were in accordance with the specifications (Tr.
   129-30).21  Furthermore, he tested the "VOID" dropout pattern
   again, and could not see anything wrong with its copying
   capability (Tr. 129-30).  Since the forms had been tested on
   several copy machines prior to shipment and the "VOID" dropout
   pattern had reproduced as required, Cripps thought it
   important to find out what standard the Respondent was using
   to evaluate the forms; i.e., what photocopier(s) and what
   setting(s) (dark, light or normal) was the Government
   employing for its tests (Tr. 129-30, 156-57, 165).

   On August 17, 1992, Leonard telephoned Gallagher to tell him
   that the job had been rejected, and that the "number one
   reason" was because the "VOID" dropout pattern would not
   reproduce by electrostatic means on the Respondent's copy
   machines (Tr. 31, 46, 261, 266; R4 File, Tab J; App Exh. No.
   4). 4.  Thereafter, on August 27, 1992, GPO sent a letter to
   the Appellant which stated, in pertinent part:

      An examination of the forms your firm produced for [the]
      Department of Veterans Affairs has revealed the following
      defect:

         Failure to Follow Specifications-Background printing
         does not show the word "VOID" in three places or a
         dropout pattern as required in the specifications, when
         reproduced by electrostatic means.

      Based on the results of this inspection, the initial
      delivery of 100,000 pads has been determined rejectable,
      and will require reprinting.  The reprinting will be
      accomplished at no additional cost to the Government with a
      change to the specifications as follows.  The location of
      the numbering should be printed as per sample supplied.22

See, R4 File, Tab M.23  The letter also confirmed that the
Contractor had agreed to pickup and destroy the rejected SPFs,
and would deliver 12,240,000 reprinted ones by September 11, 1992
(R4 File, Tabs L and M; App. Exh. No. 4).

   The record discloses that also on August 27, 1992, Gallagher
   discussed the reprint with both Nowalk and Adams (App. Exh.
   No. 4).  The upshot of these conversations was that GPO
   promised to send the Contractor a drawing of the preferred
   "VOID" dropout pattern and a sample of the SPF (Tr. 32, 34,
   36-37, 82, 87-88; R4 File, Tab N; App. Exh. Nos. 5 and 6).24
   It is undisputed that the drawing and sample form furnished by
   the Government for the reprint showed the Contractor, for the
   first time, what the "VOID" background was to look like and
   how it was to copy (Tr. 34, 37, 81, 87-88).  Furthermore, the
   dropout pattern indicated in the drawing used a reverse image
   of the word "VOID," and was totally different from the one
   employed in the original printing; i.e., when photocopied, the
   background remained but the center of the letters disappeared
   (Tr. 82, 123; R4 File, Tab N; App. Exh. No. 5).  By contrast,
   the background vanishes on the rejected SPFs, but the word
   "VOID" remains (Tr. 83, 87, 160; App. Exh. Nos. 9-18).

   In reprinting the SPFs, the Appellant used the "VOID" dropout
   pattern suggested on the sample form provided by GPO (Tr. 82,
   89; App. Exh. No. 6).  Accordingly, the Contractor made a new
   film for the changed background, and used block outline
   letters instead of the simple block letters employed on the
   original job (Tr. 83, 86).  In addition, the Appellant added
   black to the ink color to make it darker and improve the
   copying capability of the image (Tr. 87, 160, 166, 255).25

   The record discloses that in addition to asking for a reprint
   of the form, the VA also wanted a press-sheet inspection prior
   to the production run.  The Appellant agreed that such a
   precaution was necessary in light of the circumstances
   involved in the rejection of the original job; i.e., while the
   "VOID" pantograph would reproduce on the Contractor's
   photocopiers and on other copy machines in town, it would not
   copy on the Government's photocopy machines (Tr. 84-85, 90,
   153; App. Exh. No. 4).26  The press-sheet inspection was
   conducted at the Contractor's plant in Emporia, Kansas, on
   September 4, 1992, by Charles Lee, an employee of the VA (Tr.
   89-90).  Lee was accompanied throughout the press-sheet
   inspection by Cripps (Tr. 85-86).  The record shows that
   before the press-sheet inspection began, Lee showed Cripps a
   yellow file folder containing about twenty (20) sample copies
   of the SPF with photocopies attached, and pointed out that the
   samples did not reproduce as required (Tr. 94, 192).  Cripps
   took a sample from Lee, copied it on one of the Appellant's
   photocopiers, and saw that the "VOID" image did not reproduce
   (Tr. 94-96; App. Exh. No. 7).  However, on closer examination
   of that form and the other samples as well, Cripps discovered
   that they were not the Appellant's work and so told Lee (Tr.
   94-95, 190).27  In that regard, it seems that Lee had
   mistakenly brought samples of another contractor's SPFs with
   him to the press-sheet inspection (Tr. 191-92; R4 File, Tab W,
   p. 2).28  In the pressroom, Lee checked the placement of the
   sequential numbers on the press-sheet, made a photocopy of it
   which produced the "VOID" dropout pattern as required, and
   approved the job (Tr. 100-01; App. Exh. No. 8).  Thereafter,
   the approved press-sheet became the quality control standard
   for the job, and the press operators constantly checked the
   reprinted forms against the press-sheet throughout the
   production run (Tr. 218, 252, 313, 324).

   The record shows that while they were engaged in the press-
   sheet inspection, Cripps mentioned to Lee that there were
   still 96,000 pads of the rejected order in the plant, and said
   he could demonstrate that those SPFs would copy just as well
   on the Appellant's Minolta Model 4950 photocopier (Tr. 99,
   199-200).29  Indeed, Cripps proceeded to make a copy of one of
   the rejected forms on his copy machine and showed Lee that the
   "VOID" pantograph appeared as specified (Tr. 91).  However,
   Lee replied that those SPFs were not usable because of an
   error in the contract specification itself, namely, the red
   prescription number was in the wrong place on the form (Tr.
   100, 138-39, 167).30  Lee also admitted that the mistake was
   made by the VA when it drafted the specification, and that
   since it was their error the customer-agency would pay for it
   (Tr. 139-40, 167).31

   As Lee was preparing to leave, Cripps asked him if he wanted
   to make any more copies of the reprinted SPFs on different
   photocopy machines (Tr. 102).  Although Lee thought additional
   copies were unnecessary, Cripps was concerned that the reprint
   had been evaluated and approved on the basis of photocopies
   produced by the same Minolta copier which the Appellant had
   used to test the original forms only to have the shipment
   rejected.  Therefore, Cripps insisted that he and Lee perform
   further tests of the reprinted forms on different copy
   machines outside the Contractor's plant (Tr. 102-03).
   Accordingly, the record discloses that pursuant to Cripps'
   suggestion, he and Lee visited several commercial
   establishments in Emporia, where they made copies of the
   reprint satisfactory to Lee and he left (Tr. 103).

   Following Lee's press-sheet inspection, the Contractor
   reprinted and delivered the SPFs and otherwise completed
   performance of the contract.32  However, a few days prior to
   Lee's plant visit, by letter dated August 31, 1992, Counsel
   for the Appellant confirmed the design changes made to the
   SPFs, the arrangements for a press-sheet inspection, and the
   revised delivery schedule for the reprinting,33  but also
   stated, in pertinent part:

      While Professional Printing has agreed to reprint the
      entire order to meet the needs of the agency, and to comply
      with the GPO's verbal reprint order, they initially felt
      that the product they produced was not rejectionable.  As
      was discussed with yourself and Mr. Leonard, the contractor
      has the right to dispute any determination of the
      contracting officer regarding quality problems or
      rejectability of an order, unless there is an agreement to
      the contrary.  In this particular instance, it was agreed
      that the most critical issue facing the GPO and the vendor
      was the prompt production of the job, to fill the needs of
      the agency, and to follow the contracting officer's
      instructions regarding the reprint.

      Professional Printing has devoted their efforts toward that
      goal, and I am not aware of whether they have completed
      review of the samples and the prior printed piece, compared
      those to the specifications, and determined whether or not
      they accept the position that the pieces produced initially
      were rejectable.

      Obviously, if they conclude that the product was properly
      rejected there will be no reason to dispute the rejection.
      If on the other hand, they conclude the originally produced
      product meets [specifications], and wish to dispute the
      rejection of the original printed product, they retain the
      right to do so.  That issue, under contract terms, is
      totally separate from the requirement that they reprint the
      job based solely on the contracting officers determination
      of rejectability.

See, R4 File, Tab O, p. 2.

   The record shows that Leonard met with the Appellant at GPO on
   September 11, 1992, and October 16, 1992, respectively, for
   the purpose of discussing his rejection of the original
   shipment of SPFs (R4 File, Tabs V and W).  During these
   meetings, the Contractor, who was accompanied by Counsel,
   asserted that the first printing of the forms fully conformed
   to the specifications, and the real reason they were rejected
   was because the VA needed to fix the error it had made with
   respect to the placement of the prescription number on the
   form (R4 File, Tab W., p. 3).  The Respondent, on the other
   hand, maintained that the original SPFs were defective, and
   that the only reason for the rejection was that the word
   "VOID" did not appear as required when the form was
   photocopied (R4 File, Tab V and W, p. 2).  Furthermore, the
   record reveals that during the meeting on October 16, 1992,
   Cripps copied a sample of the rejected SPF on Leonard's office
   copier, and while the outline of the "VOID" pantograph could
   be seen, the image was very weak (Tr. 125; R4 File, Tabs V and
   X).34

   Thereafter, on December 10, 1992, Counsel for the Appellant
   wrote a letter to Leonard which: (a) reaffirmed the
   Contractor's position that the SPFs initially delivered to the
   VA met the specifications in every respect; (b) contended that
   the Government's rejection of the original forms was improper;
   and (c) claimed payment for all of the 19.6 million forms
   which were produced before the Appellant was notified that the
   Government had rejected the first shipment (R4 File, Tab W,
   pp. 2-3).35  Among other things, Counsel for the Appellant
   argued, in pertinent part:

      There are no technical requirements in the specifications,
      the only requirement being that the product copy on an
      electrostatic copier.  While you may possess a copier which
      does not copy the product, we have tested the product on at
      least 10 other photocopiers and found it to reproduce.
      Whether or not it reproduces as well as you would like is
      not the question, because you had no density standards for
      reproduction.  The fact is it does copy, and you can read
      it.  Had you wanted it to copy on "all electrostatic
      copiers" the specifications should have said so.

See, R4 File, Tab W, p. 2.  Accordingly, the Appellant asked the
Contracting Officer for his final written decision concerning the
dispute.  Id.  See, GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses,  5(a)
(Disputes).

   On December 14, 1992, Leonard issued a final decision
   rejecting the Appellant's claim to be compensated for the 19.6
   million original forms (R4 File, Tab X).36  In that regard,
   the Contracting Officer specifically stated, in pertinent
   part, as follows:

      All aspects of your claim have been carefully reviewed.
      The reprinting of this product was required do [sic] to
      your firm's failure to follow specifications.  The
      specifications clearly state the following: The word "void"
      must appear at least three times (vertically, horizontally
      and diagonally) and must not be visible on the printed
      product, but must appear when the sheet is reproduced by
      electrostatic means.

      Testing by GPO's Quality Assurance Section could not get
      the word "void" to appear on any forms produced by your
      firm by electrostatic means.

   * * * * * * * * * *

      Also . . . you stated that there were no technical
      requirements in the specifications and that your company
      had tested the product on at least 10 other photocopiers
      and found that it reproduced.  As far as the specifications
      are concerned, I see nothing wrong.  Concerning the
      electrostatic copier, GPO tried several copiers in the
      building and could not get it to reproduce on any of our
      copiers nor could the Department of Veterans Affairs.

See, R4 File, Tab X, pp. 1-2  [Original emphasis.]

   On January 11, 1993, the Appellant timely noted an appeal of
   the Contracting Officer's final decision with the Board.
   Board Rules, Rule 1(a).

   B. Demonstrative Evidence

   At the hearing, both parties introduced demonstrative evidence
   consisting of reproductions of samples of SPFs from the
   rejected production run.37  Each party used a slightly
   different methodology.  The Appellant made single copies of
   randomly selected individual forms on various photocopiers in
   Emporia, Kansas, and grouped them together in nine separate
   exhibits ( Tr. 111-14, 166, 198; App. Exh. Nos. 10-18).38  The
   Respondent, on the other hand, tested the same ten SPFs on
   different copy machines within GPO, and introduced the copies
   as a single exhibit (Tr. 278; R. Exh. No. 1).  The results of
   their respective tests are as follows.

   1. Appellant's Exhibits

   The SPF copies comprising the Appellant's exhibits were made
   using the normal or average settings on the identified
   machines,39 and, in its view, all of photocopiers
   satisfactorily reproduced the "VOID" pantograph (Tr. 111-114,
   115, 121, 122).  For the most part, the Board agrees.  Below
   is a listing of the Appellant's exhibits, showing: (1) the
   photocopier model used and its location; (2) the prescription
   number of the sample SPF; and (3) the Board's assessment of
   the quality of the copies in each exhibit (in parentheses).

      App. Exh. No. 10 [Minolta EP-450, Rebhels Store].  SPF Nos.
      80597391, 80582872, 78784988, 78768667, 83591531, 80408802,
      and 78997391 (the word "VOID" is light, but is clearly
      visible in three places on the form); SPF No. 81397391 (the
      word "VOID" is extremely light, but nonetheless is visible
      in three places); and SPF No. 79480175 (the word "VOID" is
      extremely light and is barely visible in three places).

      App. Exh. No. 11 [Xerox 5028 (three different copiers),
      Dillons West].  SPF No. 8039150 (copies B and C-the word
      "VOID" reproduces with normal intensity and is clearly
      visible in three places on the form; copy A-the word "VOID"
      reproduces with normal intensity and is generally visible
      in three places on the form, but the diagonal and vertical
      words are partially obscured by a mottled background).

      App. Exh. No. 12 [Xerox 5018, Dillons East]. SPF No.
      80541702 (the word "VOID" reproduces with normal intensity
      and is clearly visible in three places on the form); SPF
      No. 82825409 (the word "VOID" reproduces with normal
      intensity and is clearly visible in three places on the
      form, notwithstanding the mottled background); SPF Nos.
      80670109, 84614652, 79743601 (the word "VOID" is light, but
      is clearly visible in three places on the form); and SPF
      No. 84159962 (the word "VOID" is extremely light, although
      still visible in three places).

      App. Exh. No. 13 [Xerox 5028 (copier B), Dillons West].
      SPF No. 85208801 (the word "VOID" reproduces with normal
      intensity and is clearly visible in three places on the
      both copies of this form, although the second copy has a
      slightly mottled background); and SPF Nos. 82182872 and
      81991530 (the word "VOID" is light, but is clearly visible
      in three places on the form, notwithstanding a slightly
      mottled background).

      App. Exh. No. 14 [Xerox 5028 (copier A), Dillons West].
      SPF No. 82141702 (the word "VOID" is light, but is clearly
      visible in three places on the form); and SPF No. 82141802
      (the word "VOID" is somewhat lighter, but is still clearly
      visible in three places on the form).

      App. Exh. No. 15 [Minolta EP-450, Country Mart].  SPF Nos.
      78941901 and 82214652 (the word "VOID" reproduces with
      normal intensity and is clearly visible in three places on
      the form); and SPF No. 82142267 (the word "VOID" reproduces
      with normal intensity and is clearly visible in three
      places on the form, but the background is mottled).

      App. Exh. No. 16 [Xerox 5028, Dillons East].  SPF Nos.
      79797325, 79782872, 81208801, 83782873, 85217292 and
      79584988 (the word "VOID" reproduces with normal intensity
      and is clearly visible in three places on the form, but the
      background is slightly mottled); SPF Nos. 79566405,
      81470109, 81225409 and 83584989 (the word "VOID" is
      lighter, but is still clearly visible in three places on
      the form, notwithstanding a slightly mottled background).

      App. Exh. No. 17 (Minolta EP-450].40  SPF No. 79741802 (the
      word "VOID" is light, but is still clearly visible in three
      places on the form).

      App. Exh. No. 18 [Appellant's Minolta EP-450].  SPF Nos.
      82942904 and 82941802 (the word "VOID" reproduces with
      normal intensity and is clearly visible in three places on
      the form).41

   2. Respondent's Exhibits

   As indicated above, R. Exh. No. 1 consists of copies of ten
   forms from the rejected first printing, namely SPF Nos.
   86864101, 91656101, 94541701, 86146473, 91656043, 86146459,
   93216556, 93888649, 93217301, and 94541766, made on various
   copiers in GPO.  The forms were copied in a specific order
   using the machine's normal or average setting (Tr. 280-81).
   Furthermore, Leonard testified that in copying each of the ten
   samples, he was only looking for the word "VOID" to appear in
   three places, as required by the "PRINTING" specification (Tr.
   293).  Listed below, by photocopier model, are Leonard's
   findings.  As with the Appellant's exhibits, the Board's
   observations are shown in parentheses.

      Konica 3290, in Regional Procurement, Room A-638.  Leonard
      testified that mostly the "VOID" dropout pattern did not
      appear, except that the word "VOID" appeared lightly and
      was vaguely discernable in one place (horizontally) on the
      copy of SPF No. 9451701 (copy no.3) (Tr. 284-86). (The
      Board can also see the vertical word "VOID" on SPF No.
      9451701. In addition, although very light, the Board can
      see the horizontal and vertical words "VOID" on SPF Nos.
      94541701, 86146473, 86146459 and 93888649, but only the
      horizontal word "VOID" on SPF Nos. 93216556 and 94541766.
      SPF Nos. 91656101, 8684101, 91656043 and 93217301 are
      either blank, or the "VOID" pantograph blends so much into
      the background as to be practically invisible).

      b. Kodak Ektaprint 150, in the General Counsel's Office,
      Room C-826.  Leonard testified that the "VOID" dropout
      pattern did not appear at all on any copy of the samples
      (Tr. 291).  (The Board, by straining, can barely see the
      outlines of the horizontal word "VOID" on SPF Nos.
      93217301, 93216556 and 91656043, but the word is so faint
      that, as a practical matter, the Contracting Officer's
      assessment is correct).

      c. Savin 7500, in the Customer Service Office, Room C-830.
      Leonard testified that the "VOID" pantograph appears
      exactly as specified on SPF Nos. 91656043, 91656101 and
      93216556 (Tr. 291-92).  In addition, Leonard said that he
      could read one of the "VOID" words on SPF No. 86864101, as
      well as se the shadow of a word on SPF No. 86146459 (Tr.
      291-92).  The remaining five forms did not reproduce at
      all.  (Like Leonard, the Board clearly sees the word "VOID"
      in three places on SPF Nos. 91656043, 91656101 and
      93216556.  However, the Board can also read the "VOID"
      pantograph as specified on SPF No. 93217301, and although
      very light the three words are visible on SPF Nos. 8684101
      and 94541766.  As for the remaining forms, the word "VOID"
      is so faint that only parts of the three words, or even
      less than three, are barely visible (SPF Nos. 94541701,
      93888649, 86146459 (horizontal and diagonal only ) and SPF
      No. 86146473 (diagonal only)).

      d. Savin 7230, located in T & D (Technology and Design),
      Room C-848.  Leonard testified that the "VOID" dropout
      pattern failed to reproduce on each copy of the samples
      (Tr. 292). (Although very light, the Board can see the
      three words of the "VOID" pantograph on SPF Nos. 86864101
      and 94541766.  However, on other forms the words are so
      faint that only parts of less than three words are barely
      visible-SPF Nos. 93216556, 93888649, 93217301 and 86146473
      (horizontal word "VOID" and some letters of the vertical
      word), SPF No. 94541701 (horizontal word "VOID" and some
      letters of the diagonal word) and SPF No. 91656101
      (horizontal only).  Nothing at all appears on SPF Nos.
      91656043 and 86146459).

      e. Canon NP-8580, located in the Purchase Division, Room
      C-829.  Leonard testified that the "VOID" dropout pattern
      did not appear on any copy of the samples at all (Tr.
      292-93). (The Board can barely make out the three words of
      the "VOID" pantograph on SPF Nos. 86146473, 94541701 and
      94541766.  Nothing at all is visible on SPF Nos. 91656101,
      86864101, 91656043, 86146459, 93216556, 93888649, and
      93217301).42

   The results of Leonard's tests only reenforced his opinion
   that the forms were clearly rejectionable "without question"
   (Tr. 293).43

   II. ISSUES PRESENTED

   During the prehearing conference, the Board expressed its
   belief that three questions were raised by the facts in this
   appeal, namely:

      1. Is the "PRINTING" specification in the contract
      ambiguous, and if so, is that ambiguity latent or patent?

      2. Was the Contracting Officer in error in rejecting the
      first shipment of the SPFs on the ground that the forms
      failed to satisfy the "PRINTING" specification's
      requirement that the word "VOID" appear in three places
      when reproduced by electrostatic means?  Stated otherwise,
      was his decision merely a subterfuge for the real reason,
      which was that the customer-agency could not use the forms
      because the prescription numbers were in the wrong place
      due to a Government error in the design of the "NUMBERING"
      specification?

      3. Is the Appellant entitled to be compensated for all of
      the 19,600,000 SPFs, including the approximately 9,600,000
      forms which it printed prior to the Respondent's rejection
      of the initial order that are still in its Emporia plant?

See, RPTC, pp. 6-7.  However, from the evidence taken during the
hearing, the Board also sees two additional questions in this
case:

      4. Apart from the issue of ambiguity with respect to the
      "PRINTING" specification, was the contract otherwise
      defective because it failed to provide any objective
      standard by which to determine when, and if, the SPFs
      satisfied the requirement for "[t]he word `VOID' . . . [to]
      appear at least 3 times (vertically, horizontally and
      diagonally) . . . when the sheet is reproduced by
      electrostatic means?

      5. In light of the Contracting Officer's finding that the
      Contractor's original SPFs forms did not reproduce the
      "VOID" pantograph as required in the specifications, is the
      Appellant entitled to the benefit of the "implied warranty
      of specifications" doctrine, which would shift the burden
      of nonperformance to the Government?  Stated otherwise, is
      the true reason for the failure of the forms to copy in
      accordance with the specifications to be found in a
      defective design or in the Appellant's own production
      processes?




    III. POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES44

   A. Appellant's Position

   At the prehearing conference, the Appellant maintained that
   the Contracting Officer's decision rejecting the initial
   shipment of SPFs was wrong for three reasons: (1) the
   contract's "PRINTING" specification was vague since it did not
   prescribe any standards with respect to the visual density of
   the word "VOID", or tell the Contractor that the dropout
   pattern had to reproduce on all electrostatic copiers; (2) the
   19.6 million SPFs printed by the Appellant were equal to or of
   better quality than similar forms currently used by the VA
   produced by someone else; and (3) the Government's error with
   respect to the location of the prescription number was the
   real reason for the rejection of the initial shipment of SPFs
   because it needed to be corrected before the forms could be
   used.  See, RPTC, pp. 5-6.  However, in its posthearing brief,
   while the Appellant continues to press its "ambiguity" and
   "Government error" contentions,45 see, App. Brf., pp. 22-24,
   27-28, it also raises several additional arguments.

   First, the Appellant states that the Respondent breached the
   so-called "superior knowledge" doctrine by not disclosing
   relevant information necessary to successful performance under
   the contract, including an acceptable design of the "VOID"
   pantograph, the correct ink color, and the proper placement of
   the prescription number.  App. Brf., pp. 10-15.  In this
   regard, the Appellant relies on a well-settled principle which
   holds that the Government has a duty to disclose information
   to a contractor, which is otherwise unavailable to it, where
   that information is essential for contract performance.46
   App. Brf., p. 10 (citing, Helene Curtis Industries, Inc. v.
   United States, 312 F.2d 744 (Ct.Cl. 1963); Johnson
   Electronics, Inc., ASBCA No. 9366, 65-1 BCA  4,628).  Here,
   the Contractor believes that the Government had "superior
   knowledge" with regard to the need for a darker ink than
   Pantone 287 blue if the "VOID" pantograph was to copy
   properly, the fact that the red prescription number was
   misplaced, and the fact that a sample of the previous printing
   of the form showing the correct security-tint background
   actually existed.  App. Brf., p. 11-12.  Nevertheless, the
   Government failed to disclose all of this information,
   especially the sample of the previous form, to the Appellant
   at its request, until problems arose.47  App. Brf., pp. 13-14.
   Indeed, the Contractor contends that by telling it that no
   sample of the previous SPF was available, and by implying that
   whatever "VOID" pantograph it designed in response to the
   Government's verbal description would be acceptable, GPO
   affirmatively mislead the Appellant to its detriment.  App.
   Brf., p. 14.  For these reasons, the Contractor asserts that
   the Respondent failed to meet its responsibilities under the
   "superior knowledge" doctrine, and thus has forfeited any
   contractual remedies it may have had because of the
   Appellant's nonperformance.  App. Brf., p. 15 (citing,
   American Shipbuilding Company v.  United States, supra;
   Hardeman-Monier-Hutcherson v. United States, 458 F.2d 1364
   (Ct.Cl. 1972); The Kehm Corporation v. United States, 93
   F.Supp. 62 (Ct.Cl. 1950).

   Second, the Appellant argues that the Government is equitably
   estopped from rejecting the original printing of the SPFs
   because of its failure to furnish an acceptable sample of the
   previous printing of the form, and its refusal to evaluate the
   Contractor's prior-to-production proof.48  App. Brf., pp.
   15-20.  The Appellant contends that the Respondent possessed a
   sample of the previously-printed form, which was absolutely
   critical to performance because it held the key to the proper
   placement of the prescription number, the ink color, and the
   correct "VOID" pantograph design, and failed to provide it to
   the Contractor.  App. Brf., pp. 16-17.  Furthermore, the
   Appellant argues that the combined impact of GPO's failure to
   furnish a sample of the previous product and its refusal to
   look at the proof was prepared in accordance with the
   Respondent's verbal description of the security-tint
   background, was to induce the Contractor to rely on incorrect
   information for the first production run.49  App. Brf., pp.
   17-18 (citing, American Electronic Laboratories, Inc. v.
   United States, 774 F.2d 1110 (Fed. Cir. 1985)).  By depending
   on the information it had, and following GPO's instructions,
   the Appellant produced SPFs that conformed to the
   specifications, as written, but which were not usable by the
   VA because the prescription number was misplaced and the ink
   color was too light for reproduction purposes.  App. Brf., pp.
   18-19 (citing, Colorado State Bank of Walsh v. United States,
   18 Cl. Ct. 611, 633 (1989)).  Finally, the Appellant contends
   that by relying on the specifications, the GFM, and the
   Respondent's verbal directions, it suffered a financial loss
   of approximately $176,000.00 when the forms it produced were
   rejected by GPO.  App. Brf., p. 19 (citing, Simmonds Precision
   Products, Inc. v. United States, 546 F.2d 886, 892 (Ct.Cl.
   1976)).  Accordingly, the Contractor believes that equitable
   estoppel against the Government is appropriate in this case.50
   App. Brf., pp. 19-20 (citing, Federal Crop Insurance
   Corporation v. Merrill, supra; OAO Corporation v. United
   States, supra).

   Third, even though the Appellant regards the "PRINTING"
   specification as vague and ambiguous, it also argues, in the
   alternative, that the language unambiguously supports the
   interpretation that for the specification to be satisfied, it
   is only necessary for the word "VOID" to appear in three
   places when the form is reproduced on one photocopier.  App.
   Brf., pp. 20-22.  The Contractor states that nothing in the
   express wording of the specification requires the "VOID"
   pantograph to copy on all or most machines, as contended by
   the Respondent, nor does the specification identify any
   photocopier brand or manufacturer on which the forms would be
   used or tested for compliance.  App. Brf., p. 21.  It says
   that in order to imply either the words "all" or "most" before
   the phrase "electrostatic means", as contended by GPO, there
   must be a finding that the specification is ambiguous.  App.
   Brf., p. 21 (citing, Bayou Land and Marine Contractors, Inc.
   v. United States, 23 Cl. Ct. 764 (1991)).  However, the
   Contractor is unaware of any case in which an adjudicative
   forum has supplied the word "all" where it did not exist
   before in an agreement, and thus changed the meaning of a
   contract.  App. Brf., p. 21 (citing, cf., Thermal Electronic,
   Inc. v. United States, 25 Cl. Ct. 671, 673 (1992) (the court
   held that "all" means "all" and not something less, as
   contended by the contractor)).  The Appellant notes that it
   has placed in evidence a number of electrostatic copies of
   sample SPFs from the rejected printing, made on different
   photocopiers in its plant and in local area stores, all of
   which show the word "VOID" in three places on the form.  App.
   Brf., pp. 21-22.  Similarly, tests of the SPFs during the
   hearing showed that they reproduced as required on some
   machines in GPO, but not on others.  App. Brf., pp. 20, 22.
   In the Appellant's view, the fact that samples from the
   original press run were able to copy on any machine means that
   the clear and unambiguous requirements of the specifications
   have been met.  App. Brf., p. 22.2

   Finally, the Appellant contends that it is not liable for any
   problems with the "VOID" pantograph because it followed the
   Government's defective design of the product, and the outcome
   was a form that failed to meet the "PRINTING" specification.
   App. Brf., 24-29.  The Contractor's argument is based on
   "black letter" law which states that where the Government
   drafts specifications for a desired product and creates a
   "design-type" contract, there is an implied warranty that if
   the specifications are followed, the resulting product will
   satisfy the contract's requirements.  App. Brf., pp. 24-25
   (citing, Spearin v. United States, 248 U.S. 132 (1918); J.L.
   Simmons Company Inc. v. United States, 412 F.2d 1360, 1363
   (Ct.Cl. 1969)).  Where, as here, a contract consists of mixed
   design and performance specifications,51 a contractor can
   defend on an implied warranty theory if the design
   specifications are defective to the degree that adherence to
   them would result in nonperformance.52  App. Brf., pp. 25-26
   (citing, R.J. Crowley, Inc. v. United States, supra; R.E.D.M.
   Corporation v. United States, 428 F.2d 1304, 1310 (Ct.Cl.
   1970)).  Under this contract, the Appellant was responsible
   for the following performance aspects: (1) the parameters of
   the printing; (2) the creation of the background printing
   media; and (3) the requirement that the word "VOID" appear at
   least three times when the SPF was reproduced by electrostatic
   means.  App. Brf., pp. 26-27.  On the other hand, the
   Government controlled the following requirements on both the
   original printing and the reprint as well (a significant
   factor where the question of an implied warranty is involved):
   (1) the security-tint background; (2) the design of the "VOID"
   dropout pattern; (3) the location of the prescription number;
   and (4) the choice of ink color for the form.  App. Brf., p.
   27 (citing, Hol-Gar Manufacturing Corporation v. United
   States, 360 F.2d 634 (Ct.Cl. 1966)).  The Appellant says that
   because it adhered to the Government's initial design
   specifications, which turned out to be defective, it produced
   a form which GPO now alleges did not meet the performance
   specifications.  App. Brf., 28-29.  However, given these
   circumstances, the Contractor states that under well-settled
   legal principles it is not responsible for the production of
   an unsatisfactory product on the original press run.53  App.
   Brf., p. 29 (citing, R.E.D.M. Corporation v. United States,
   supra; R.J. Crowley, Inc. v. United States, supra).
   Accordingly, for all of these reasons, the Appellant asks the
   Board to reverse the Contracting Officer's final decision and
   direct him to accept the entire first printing of 19.6 million
   SPFs at the contract price.  App. Brf., p. 30.

   B. Respondent's Position

   The Respondent has maintained throughout these proceedings
   that the Contracting Officer properly rejected the initial
   shipment of forms because they failed to conform to the
   contract's "PRINTING" specification, and moreover, that he
   rightly denied the Appellant's claim for payment for 19.6
   million SPFs.  See, RPTC, p. 4; R. Brf., p. 3.  In that
   regard, GPO denies the Appellant's allegation that the true
   reason for the rejection was the Government's error in the
   location of the prescription number on the form, which had to
   be corrected.  See, RPTC, p. 5; R. Brf., p. 4.  The Respondent
   also contends, contrary to the Contractor, that the unshipped
   SPFs in the Contractor's plant are not part of this case-only
   the 100,000 pads actually delivered to the VA, inspected and
   found rejectionable, are involved here.  Id.

   Basically, the Respondent's posthearing argument boils down to
   the contention that the Appellant failed to meet its burden of
   proof on the essential ingredients of its claim; i.e., there
   is no credible evidence in support of the Contractor's
   allegations that: (1) the "PRINTING" specification was
   ambiguous and that it relied on its own interpretation of the
   specification in preparing and submitting its bid; (2) it
   produced the entire quantity of 19,600,000 SPFs in conformance
   with the specifications as it understood them; and (3) the
   Contracting Officer rejected the initial shipment primarily to
   correct the numbering error.  R. Brf., pp. 2, 5.  With regard
   to the "ambiguity" question, GPO notes that the Appellant did
   not object to the specifications prior to starting performance
   under the contract, and besides the Contractor seems to have
   abandoned that contention and is pursuing other defenses.  R.
   Brf., pp. 5, 8.  On the other hand, the Respondent believes
   that when considered in context, the plain meaning of the
   language in the "PRINTING" specification which says that the
   word "`VOID' . . . must not be visible on the printed sheet,
   and must appear where the sheet is reproduced by electrostatic
   means", is that the product must copy on all commercially
   available copiers.  R. Brf., p. 10.  GPO contends not only is
   this the logical interpretation of that provision, but also
   that the Appellant itself has admitted that the SPFs had to
   copy with some universality, and indeed, tested the product on
   a number of copiers during the initial production process just
   to make sure that the form performed as required.  Id.
   Finally, the Respondent observes that the Contractor failed to
   introduce any evidence that it relied on its "one machine
   only" reading of the contract language when it prepared its
   bid, and, in fact, conceded that it would have produced the
   product the same way even if the words "all commercially
   available electrostatic copiers" had appeared in the
   specifications.  R. Brf., pp. 10-11.  Consequently, the
   Government asserts that the only reasonable interpretation of
   the specification is that the "VOID" dropout pattern was to
   reproduce on all electrostatic copiers, and that was the
   standard by which the forms were measured. R. Brf., p. 11.

   As for the Appellant's new arguments, the Respondent believes
   that while the Contractor has clearly explained the relevant
   law, it has failed to show where or how those principles apply
   to the facts in this case.  With respect to the Appellant's
   "superior knowledge" claim, the Respondent says that the
   Contractor has failed to establish that the Government had
   superior knowledge of facts which were essential to the
   performance of the contract and were not disclosed by
   Respondent.  R. Brf., p. 12.  Furthermore, while the Appellant
   contends that GPO's failure to disclose vital information
   excuses its inability to produce an acceptable product, it has
   not demonstrated a cause and effect relationship between any
   act or omission of the Government and the Contractor's lack of
   performance.  R. Brf., pp. 8-9 (citing, Baifield Industries,
   Division of A-T-O, Inc. v. United States, 706 F.2d 320 (Fed.
   Cir. 1983); Brantley Construction Company, ASBCA No. 27604,
   84-3 BCA  17,532; Santa Fe Engineers, Inc. ASBCA No. 25549,
   82-2 BCA  15,982; Meyer-Weddle Company, GSBCA No. 5736, 81-1
   BCA  14,952; Felton Construction Company, AGBCA No. 406-9,
   81-1 BCA  14,932).  Thus, for example, the Respondent says
   that the Contractor has failed to show how either knowledge of
   a darker color ink or possession of a sample from the previous
   printing of the SPFs would have resulted in the production of
   an acceptable form.54  R. Brf., pp. 10, fn. 8, 11-12.  First,
   GPO notes that the darker ink which was used for the new forms
   did not result in a product which satisfied the contract
   specifications; i.e., the reprints were only accepted because
   the approved press-sheet superseded the contract
   specifications as the quality standard for printing.  R. Brf.,
   p. 11.  Second, GPO states that a sample of the previously
   printed form would not have assisted the Contractor, because
   there is no evidence to indicate that the prior product was
   tested, that it reproduced as required, and was accepted by
   the Government.  Id.  For that reason, the Respondent rejects
   the Appellant's arguments that a sample of the prior SPF was
   essential for the security-tint background, or was otherwise
   required for proper performance, on the ground that there is
   no factual support for either assertion.  R. Brf., p. 12.
   Lastly, GPO points out that the Contractor has admitted that
   it had all the information it needed to produce the form.  Id.

   The Respondent believes that the Appellant's "equitable
   estoppel" argument is also without merit.  Noting that the
   Contractor's claim is premised upon allegations that
   Government concealed or misrepresented material facts, GPO
   flatly denies that it did so and says that the record is
   devoid of any such evidence.  R. Brf., pp. 10, fn. 8, 12.  The
   Respondent rejects the Appellant's notion that by making a
   sample from a prior printing available to the Contractor, the
   result would have been a form which complied with the
   specifications and was acceptable.  R. Brf., p. 13.  To the
   charge that its refusal to examine the Appellant's
   preproduction proof damaged the Contractor, GPO contends that
   not only was it acting within its rights, but observes that a
   visual inspection of the proof at the hearing demonstrated
   that it, too, was unacceptable.  R. Brf., p. 12.  In sum, the
   Respondent argues that there is no basis for an equitable
   estoppel against the Government, especially where, as here,
   the specifications gave the Appellant wide latitude in
   choosing its own process to perform the contract.  R. Brf., p.
   13.

   Finally, the Respondent states that the Appellant's
   "impossibility of performance" claim is without any foundation
   in the record.  R. Brf., pp. 10, fn. 8, 13.  First, GPO says
   that there is no evidence to support the Appellant's assertion
   that the Government's choice of Pantone 287 blue ink rendered
   the "PRINTING" specification so defective and flawed that
   adherence to it necessarily resulted in an unsatisfactory
   form, and hence made performance impossible.  R. Brf., p. 13.
   Second, the Respondent rejects the Contractor's allegation
   that the design of the "VOID" pantograph, which it relied
   upon, was dictated by the Government, and contends instead
   that the real problem here was not the design, but rather the
   Appellant's method of performance.  Id.  In the Respondent's
   view, since there is nothing to establish that performance
   under the original specifications was impossible, the only
   conclusion is the Appellant alone is responsible for its
   failure to perform in this case.  R. Brf., p. 13.
   Accordingly, for all of these reasons, the Respondent submits
   that the Contracting Officer's final decision was correct, and
   it asks the Board to deny the appeal.  R. Brf., p. 14.

   IV. DISCUSSION55

   Although this contract appeal, replete as it is with complex
   and novel issues, appears before the Board in the guise of a
   simple dispute over the rejection of the initial printing of
   SPFs, for all practical purposes the controversy is really
   about scrap paper.  Because of the Government's design error
   with regard to the location of the prescription numbers on the
   original forms, the VA could not use them even if they had all
   reproduced the "VOID" pantograph perfectly.  However, the
   parties stipulated that since the Contractor placed the
   numbers on the first SPFs where the specifications said they
   should be, but for the problem with the "VOID" dropout
   pattern, the Government would have accepted and paid for the
   forms.56  Indeed, the evidence of record shows that Lee, the
   VA representative who inspected and approved the press-sheet
   for the reprint, admitted his agency made a mistake in
   drafting the "NUMBERING" specification, and said that if the
   forms had reproduced as required the VA would have paid for
   them (Tr. 139-40, 167).  In the Board's view, nothing in the
   record tends to cast doubt on the parties' stipulation.57
   See, Banta Company, GPO BCA 03-91 (November 15, 1993), Sl. op.
   at 52-53, 1993 WL 526843.  Therefore, to the extent that the
   Appellant joined in the stipulation, the Board believes that
   it has abandoned its argument that the real reason for the
   Government's rejection of the forms was the numbering error,
   and that issue is no longer in the case.58  See, RPTC, pp.
   5-6.

   Even if there was a suggestion in the record that the VA was
   more interested in the proper placement of the prescription
   number than in the reproduction capability of the "VOID"
   dropout pattern, the customer-agency's motive for rejecting
   the forms is irrelevant in this case.  The contract at issue
   is between the Appellant and GPO (Tr. 272-73).  See, GPO
   Contract Terms, Contract Clauses,  1 (Contractual
   Responsibility).  The Respondent's printing procurement rules
   expressly state that the only person authorized to make final
   determinations on whether products supplied by a contractor
   conform to contract specifications is the contracting officer,
   as this decision is within his discretion in administering a
   contract.59  See, PPR, Chap. XIII, Sec. 1,  4.f.  See also,
   Sterling Printing, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 34-35, fn. 46;
   Hurt's Printing Company, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 10, fn. 13;
   Dependable Printing Company, GPO BCA 5-84 (September 12,
   1985), Sl. op. 24, 1985 WL 154847; Graphic Litho, GPO BCA
   21-84 (February 4, 1985), Sl. op. at 19-21, 1985 WL 154850.
   Accord, Thomas W. Yoder Company, Inc., VACAB No. 997, 74-1 BCA
    10,424.  In this case, there is no doubt that the rejection
   of the first shipment of SPFs was based on the Contracting
   Officer's own investigation of the VA's complaint, and the
   exercise of his independent judgment that the forms did not
   meet the specifications.  The Board finds no evidence that the
   Contracting Officer was influenced in his decision by the
   customer-agency.  Cf., Graphics Image, Inc., GPO BCA 13-92
   (August 31, 1992), Sl. op. 27-28, 1992 WL 487875 (citing,
   Colorgraphics Corporation, GPO BCA 16-87 (March 31, 1989) Sl.
   op. at 24, 1989 WL 384970).

   From its careful review of the record, exhibits, and the
   parties' briefs in this case, the Board has reached the
   following conclusions:

      A. Contrary to the Appellant's belief, the disputed
      sentence in the contract's "PRINTING" specification is not
      ambiguous when read against the contract's quality
      assurance provisions.

   From the outset, the focus of this dispute has centered on the
   "PRINTING" specification in the contract.  In a nutshell, the
   Appellant's position has been that the contract provision is
   vague and ambiguous, while the Respondent has insisted
   throughout that the language in the specification is "as clear
   as a bell."60  See, RPTC, pp. 5-6; App. Brf., pp. 20-21; R.
   Brf., p. 10.  The ambiguity issue arises because the Appellant
   says that the principal sentence in controversy-"The word
   `VOID' (each letter to be approx. 5/8" high) must appear at
   least 3 times (vertically, horizontally and diagonally) and
   must not be visible on the printed sheet, but must appear when
   the sheet is reproduced by electrostatic means"-supports the
   interpretation that satisfactory performance only requires the
   word "VOID" to appear as specified when the form is reproduced
   on one photocopier.  App. Brf., pp. 20.  The Respondent, on
   the other hand, argues that the plain meaning of the disputed
   language is that the product must copy on all commercially
   available copiers.61  R. Brf., p. 10.  Since the parties have
   drawn different meanings from the disputed specification, the
   Board's task is simple-it must decide which of the two
   conflicting interpretations is correct, or whether both
   readings may be reasonably derived from the contract terms; in
   other words, is the contract ambiguous?  As the parties
   recognize, the answer to that question  essentially involves
   an interpretation of the contract by the Board.62  See, Web
   Business Forms, Inc., GPO BCA 16-89 (September 30, 1994) Sl.
   op. at 16-17; McDonald & Eudy Printers, Inc., GPO BCA 25-92
   (April 11, 1994), Sl. op. at 13, 1994 WL 275093; Shepard
   Printing, GPO BCA 37-92 (January 28, 1994), Sl. op. at 15-16,
   1994 WL 275098.

   The focus of inquiry in this case is confined to the contract
   itself.   See, Web Business Forms, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 17;
   Universal Printing Company, supra, Sl. op. at 26, fn. 27, RD
   Printing Associates, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 9, 13, fns. 9 and
   15; B. P. Printing and Office Supplies, supra, Sl. op. at 15.
   Therefore, certain legal principles should be kept in mind at
   the outset.  First, when the parties confront the Board with
   two different interpretations of the same contract language
   they raise the possibility that the specifications may be
   ambiguous.  See, McDonald & Eudy Printers, Inc., supra, Sl.
   op. at 13; R.C. Swanson Printing and Typesetting Company, GPO
   BCA 31-90 (February 6, 1992), Sl. op. at 41, 1992 WL 487874,
   aff'd on other grounds, Richard C. Swanson, T/A R.C. Swanson
   Printing and Typesetting Company v. United States, Cl.Ct. No.
   92-128C (October 2, 1992).  Second, contractual language is
   ambiguous if it will sustain more than one reasonable
   interpretation.63  See, Webb Business Forms, Inc., supra, Sl.
   op. at 17; R.C. Swanson Printing and Typesetting Company,
   supra, Sl. op. at 41, fn. 22; General Business Forms, Inc.,
   supra, Sl. op. at 16.  See also, Neal & Company v. United
   States, 19 Cl. Ct. 463, 471 and fn. 4 (1990), aff'd 945 F.2d
   385 (Fed. Cir. 1991); Edward R. Marden Corporation v. United
   States, 803 F.2d 701, 705 (Fed. Cir. 1986); Sun Shipbuilding &
   Drydock Co. v. United States, 183 Ct. Cl. 358, 372 (1968).
   Third, in analyzing disputed contract language, the courts and
   contract appeals boards place themselves in the shoes of a
   reasonably prudent contractor, and give the language of the
   contract that meaning which a reasonably intelligent
   contractor acquainted with the circumstances surrounding the
   contract would give it.  McDonald & Eudy Printers, Inc.,
   supra, Sl. op. at 14; General Business Forms, Inc., supra, Sl.
   op. at 18 (citing, Salem Engineering and Construction
   Corporation v. United States, 2 Cl. Ct. 803, 806 (1983)).  See
   also, Norcoast Constructors, Inc. v. United States, 196 Ct.
   Cl. 1, 9, 448 F.2d 1400, 1404 (1971); Firestone Tire and
   Rubber Company v. United States, 195 Ct. Cl. 21, 30, 444 F.2d
   547, 551 (1971).

   A dispute over contract language is not resolved simply by a
   decision that an ambiguity exists-it is also necessary to
   determine whether the ambiguity is latent or patent.  Courts
   will find a latent ambiguity where the disputed language,
   without more, admits of two different reasonable
   interpretations.64  See, Web Business Forms, Inc., supra, Sl.
   op. at 18; Fry Communications, Inc./InfoConversion Joint
   Venture v. United States, supra, 22 Cl.Ct. at 503 (citing,
   Edward R. Marden Corporation v. United States, supra, 803 F.2d
   at 705); R.C. Swanson Printing and Typesetting Company, supra,
   Sl. op. at 41, fn. 22.  On the other hand, a patent ambiguity
   would exist if the contract language contained a gross
   discrepancy, an obvious error in drafting, or a glaring gap,
   as seen through the eyes of a "reasonable man" on an ad hoc
   basis.65  See, Webb Business Forms, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at
   19; Fry Communications, Inc./ InfoConversion Joint Venture v.
   United States, supra, 22 Cl. Ct. at 504 (citing, Max Drill,
   Inc. v. United States, supra, 192 Ct. Cl. at 626; WPC
   Enterprises, Inc. v. United States, 163 Ct. Cl. 1, 6 (1963));
   General Business Forms, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 17 (citing,
   Enrico Roman, Inc. v. United States, supra, 2 Cl. Ct. at 106).

   However, the rules governing ambiguous contract language come
   into play only if the meaning of the disputed terms are not
   susceptible to interpretation through the usual rules of
   contract construction.  See, Webb Business Forms, Inc., supra,
   Sl. op. at 19; McDonald & Eudy Printers, Inc., supra, Sl. op.
   at 16; Shepard Printing, supra, Sl. op. at 19; R.C. Swanson
   Printing and Typesetting Company, supra, Sl. op. at 42.  The
   most basic principle of contract construction is that the
   document should be interpreted as a whole.66  See, Hol-Gar
   Manufacturing Corporation v. United States, supra, 169 Ct. Cl.
   at 388, 351 F.2d at 975; Webb Business Forms, Inc., supra, Sl.
   op. at 19-20; General Business Forms, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at
   16.  Hence, all provisions of a contract should be given
   effect and no provision is to be rendered meaningless.  See,
   Webb Business Forms, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 20; General
   Business Forms, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 16 (citing, Raytheon
   Company v. United States, 2 Cl. Ct. 763 (1983)).  See also,
   Pacificorp Capital, Inc. v. United States, supra, 25 Cl. Ct.
   at 716; Fortec Constructors v. United States, supra, 760 F.2d
   at 1292; United States v. Johnson Controls, Inc., 713 F.2d
   1541, 1555 (Fed. Cir. 1983); Jamsar, Inc. v. United States,
   442 F.2d 930 (Ct.Cl. 1971); Grace Industries, Inc., ASBCA No.
   33553, 87-3 BCA  20,171;  In other words, a contract should
   be interpreted in a manner which gives meaning to all of its
   parts and in such a fashion that the provisions do not
   conflict with each other, if this is reasonably possible.
   See, Webb Business Forms, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 20.  Accord,
   Granite Construction Company v. United States, 962 F.2d 998
   (Fed. Cir. 1992); B. D. Click Company v. United States, 614
   F.2d 748 (Ct.Cl. 1980).  That is, an interpretation which
   gives a reasonable meaning to all parts of a contract will be
   preferred to one which leaves a portion of it "useless,
   inexplicable, inoperative, void, insignificant, meaningless,
   superfluous, or achieves a weird and whimsical result."67
   Gould, Inc. v. United States, 935 F.2d 1271, 1274 (Fed. Cir.
   1991) (quoting, Arizona v. United States, 216 Ct. Cl. 221,
   235-36, 575 F.2d 855, 863 (1978)).  See also, ITT Arctic
   Service, Inc. v. United States, 207 Ct. Cl. 743, 524 F.2d 680,
   684 (1975) (contract interpretation should be "without twisted
   or strained out of context [and without] regard to the
   subjective unexpressed intent of one of the parties. . .").

   In interpreting the disputed language here, the parties have
   staked out positions at the opposite ends of the spectrum-from
   the Appellant's "one machine" theory to the Respondent's  "all
   commercially available copiers" view.  However, as emphasized
   above, for an ambiguity to exist the differing interpretations
   of the contract language must be reasonable.  See, Webb
   Business Forms, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 17; R.C. Swanson
   Printing and Typesetting Company, supra, Sl. op. at 41, fn.
   22; General Business Forms, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 16.
   Against that standard, in the Board's view, the Appellant's
   interpretation is so unreasonable and bizarre that the Board
   cannot imagine any self-respecting contracting officer
   agreeing to such an absurd proposition.  Consequently, if for
   no other reason, it must be rejected on that basis alone.
   See, Gould, Inc. v. United States, supra, 935 F.2d at 1274;
   Arizona v. United States, supra, 216 Ct. Cl. at 235-36, 575
   F.2d at 863 (1978).

   At first blush, the Respondent's "zero" failure rate
   interpretation also seems to be unreasonable.  See, Foster
   Construction, C.A. v. United States, 193 Ct. Cl. 586, 435 F.2d
   873 (1970); Souter Construction Company, Inc., ENG BCA No.
   5701, 93-3 BCA  26,175, at 130,264; Meredith Construction
   Company, ASBCA No. 41736, 93-2 BCA  25,864.  However, the
   Board is required to interpret the contract so as to give
   meaning to all of its parts.  Consequently, it is compelled to
   recognize that the disputed language in the "PRINTING"
   specification does not stand in isolation, but rather there is
   a natural transition between the requirement for perfect
   performance and the contract's detailed quality assurance
   provisions, especially QATAP.68  A brief glance at the QATAP
   manual discloses the following explanation, in pertinent part,
   about the program's evaluation standards:

      For all but four of the numbered attributes and some paper
      characteristics, evaluation is made on an absolute basis,
      with defects assessed on deviation from explicit or
      implicit nominal values, rather than on comparisons to a
      specified physical object called the specified standard. .
      . . Tolerances specify how far the product may deviate from
      the nominal and still be acceptable.

   * * * * * * * * * *

      . . .[T]he evaluation for attributes P-7 through P-10, and
      some paper characteristics are made relative to a specified
      standard while the other attributes and paper
      characteristics are evaluated on an absolute basis.

See, QATAP, p. vi.  [Emphasis added.]  It seems to the Board that
the "PRINTING" specification sentence in controversy, which
expresses performance in absolute terms, merely echoes QATAP's
evaluation philosophy, and is capable of being read against the
contract's quality assurance provisions, taken as a whole,
without negating the language of any part of the contract.  See,
Webb Business Forms, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 21; R.C. Swanson
Printing and Typesetting Company, supra, Sl. op. at 43-48.
Accord, Granite Construction Company v. United States, supra; B.
D. Click Company v. United States, supra.  Thus, when properly
read, the contract says that within the tolerances allowed by
QATAP for defective SPFs at the Quality Level indicated, based on
an appropriate sample, the word "VOID" must appear three times
when the forms are reproduced by electrostatic means.  This
plainly advises the Contractor that while it is expected to
produce an SPF which works every time, some leeway would be
allowed because of the nature of "VOID" pantograph work, beyond
which the form would either be rejected or a discount taken.  The
Respondent's interpretation is in complete harmony with this
view, while the Appellant's de minimis approach effectively reads
the quality assurance provisions out of the contract.  See, DWS,
Inc., Debtor-in-Possession, ASBCA No. 29743, 93-1 BCA  25,404,
at 126,540; Falcon Jet Corporation, DOT CAB No. 78-32, 82-1 BCA 
15,477, at 76,693.
   Obviously, in an ideal world all of the SPFs would reproduce
   as required; indeed, if the "PRINTING" specification is any
   example, Government contracts are usually drafted in absolute
   terms in the expectation that contractor's will aim for
   perfect performance.  Cf., Thermal Electronic, Inc. v. United
   States, supra, 25 Cl. Ct. at 673.  But common sense tells us
   that we do not live in an ideal world, so some reasonable
   allowance must be made for failure-not total failure, but some
   acceptable level of imperfect performance which the parties
   can live with-hence, the rule that performance specifications
   are not as strictly enforced as design specifications.  See,
   e.g., Radiation Technology, Inc. v. United States, 177 Ct. Cl.
   227, 366 F.2d 1003, 1005-06 (1966).  See also, Fry
   Communications, GPO BCA 22-84 (February 20, 1986), Sl. op. at
   20, 1986 WL 181462.  Accordingly, the Board finds the above
   reading of the contract, which accepts the meaning ascribed to
   the disputed sentence in the "PRINTING" specification by the
   Respondent, as modified by the quality assurance provisions,
   is the only reasonable interpretation of the contract read as
   a whole.  When a contract admits to only one construction, it
   is not ambiguous.  See, Webb Business Forms, Inc., supra, Sl.
   op. at 21; R.C. Swanson Printing and Typesetting Company,
   supra, Sl. op. at 43-48.  See also, Falcon Jet Corporation,
   supra, 82-1 BCA at 76,693 (citing, Martin Lane Company v.
   United States, 193 Ct. Cl. 203 (1970); General Dynamics
   Corporation, DOT CAB 76-29, 79-1 BCA  13,858).

      B. An inadequate or defective Government design was the
      real reason for the failure of the Appellant's original
      SPFs to reproduce the "VOID" pantograph as required in the
      "PRINTING" specification.  Therefore, since the Contractor
      was entitled to rely on that specification in manufacturing
      the forms, under the doctrine of "implied warranty of
      specifications" the Government bears the responsibility for
      nonperformance.

   Having found that the "PRINTING" specification is not
   ambiguous, the answer to the next question raised by the
   Appellant requires an examination of that provision in detail.
   In that regard, the Contractor contends that the reason its
   first SPFs were rejectable was because it followed the
   Government's defective "VOID" pantograph design, and hence it
   is entitled to the protection of the "implied warranty of
   specifications" doctrine.  App. Brf., pp. 24-25.  The
   Respondent, on the other hand, argues that the design of the
   "VOID" pantograph was of the Contractor's own making, and
   moreover the real problem was not the design but the
   Appellant's method of performance, for which the Government
   cannot be held accountable.  R. Brf., p. 13.  An analysis of
   the record indicates that the Appellant's position has merit.

   When the Government requires a contractor to follow detailed
   plans and specifications, it is well-established that it
   impliedly warrants that if the specifications are followed,
   the result will be adequate.  See, D.E.W., Incorporated, ASBCA
   No. 35896, 94-3 BCA  27,182, at 135,459 (citing, United
   States v. Spearin, supra; Blake Construction Company v. United
   States, 987 F.2d 743, 745 (Fed. Cir. 1993); Santa Fe
   Engineers, Inc., ASBCA No. 45228, 93-2 BCA  25,555).  See
   also, Hol-Gar Manufacturing Corporation v. United States,
   supra, 360 F.2d at 638.  As this Board has explained:

      The Government's implied warranty of the adequacy of its
      specifications is based on its responsibility for the
      specifications rather than any presumed "superior
      knowledge" in the sense of greater expertise.  When one of
      the parties to a contract undertakes to prepare the
      specifications, that party is responsible for the
      correctness, adequacy and feasibility of the
      specifications, and the other party is under no obligation
      to check and verify the work product of the party who
      assumed responsibility for the preparation of the
      specifications, even though he may be as much or more of an
      expert than the party who prepared the specifications.
      Courts have held many times that a bidder need not verify
      the correctness and adequacy of Government specifications
      prior to bidding.  Ithaca Gun Co. v. United States, 176 Ct.
      Cl. 477 (1966); Harvey-Whipple, Inc. v. United States, 169
      Ct. Cl. 689 (1965).

See, Colorgraphics Corporation, supra, Sl. op. at 22 (quoting,
Consolidated Diesel Electric Corporation, ASBCA No. 10496, 67-2
BCA  6669, at 30,951-52).69  A contractor seeking to avail
itself of this "implied warranty" principle has the burden of
showing that the Government's specifications were somehow
defective and that they were the cause of the problems it
experienced.  See, Printing Unlimited, GPO BCA 21-90 (November
30, 1993), Sl. op. at 17, 1993 WL 516844; Editors Press
Incorporated, GPO BCA 3-90 (September 4, 1991), 1991 WL 439271.
See also, Wornick Family Foods Company, ASBCA Nos. 41317, 41318,
41319, 94-2 BCA  26,808; Bradley Construction, Inc., ASBCA No.
39733, 91-2 BCA  23,974; AGH Industries, Inc., ASBCA Nos. 258,
26535, 85-1 BCA  17,784.

   Government contracts like this one often contain both
   performance and design specifications.  See, Wornick Family
   Foods Company, supra, 94-2 BCA at 133,339; Falcon Jet
   Corporation, supra, 82-1 BCA at 76,691.  The law makes a clear
   distinction between "design" specifications and "performance"
   specifications in determining the respective rights and
   obligations of the parties to a Government contract.
   Therefore, before applying the basic principle to the facts
   here, and in order to determine which requirement was the
   source of the Appellant's difficulties, if any, it is
   necessary to understand exactly what kind of specification we
   are dealing with in this case.  See, Aleutian Constructors v.
   United States, 24 Cl. Ct. 372 (1992).

   Generally, design specifications explicitly state how the
   contract is to be performed and permit no deviations, while
   performance specifications focus on the results to be
   obtained, and leave it to the contractor to determine how to
   achieve that objective.  See, Neal & Company v. United States,
   supra, 19 Cl. Ct. at 468.  See also, Stuyvesant Dredging
   Company v. United States, supra, 834 F.2d at 1582; J.L.
   Simmons Company, Inc. v. United States, supra, 188 Ct. Cl. at
   684, 412 F.2d at 1360.  As the Board has explained:

      [There are] DESIGN specifications which set forth precise
      measurements, tolerances, materials, in process and
      finished product tests, quality control, inspection
      requirement, and other specific information.  Under this
      type specification, the Government is responsible for
      design and related omissions, errors, and deficiencies in
      the specifications and drawings.  PERFORMANCE
      specifications set forth operational characteristics
      desired for the item.  In such specifications, design,
      measurements and other specific details are not stated or
      considered important so long as the performance requirement
      is met.  Where an item is purchased by a performance
      specification, the contractor accepts general
      responsibility for design, engineering, and achievement of
      the stated performance requirements.  The contractor has
      general discretion and election as to detail but the work
      is subject to the Government's reserved right of final
      inspection and approval or rejection.

See, Colorgraphics Corporation, supra, Sl. op. at 23 (quoting,
Monitor Plastics Company, ASBCA No. 14447, 72-2  9,626 (1972)).
[Original emphasis.]  See also, Big Chief Drilling Company v.
United States, 26 Cl. Ct. 1276, 1294 (1992) ("Design
specifications set forth in detail the materials to be employed
and the manner in which the work is to be performed, and the
contractor is `required to follow them as one would a road map.'
[Citation omitted.]  Whereas, performance specifications simply
set forth an objective or end result to be achieved, and the
contractor may select the means of accomplishing the task.
[Citation omitted.]").  This distinction is important because,
while the Government is entitled to performance in strict
compliance with design specifications, performance specifications
are not as rigidly enforced since the contractor is expected to
exercise his ingenuity and select the means for achieving the
standard of performance required.  See, Carmon Construction,
Inc., GSBCA No 11227, 92-2 BCA  25,001, at 124,615; Falcon Jet
Corporation, supra, 82-1 BCA at 76,691-92 (citing, J.L. Simmons
Co., Inc., supra; R&M Mechanical Contractors, Inc., DOT CAB [No.]
75-51, 76-2 BCA  12,084; Santa Fe Engineers, Inc., ASBCA [No.]
22950, 79-2 BCA  14,084).  See also, Centre Manufacturing
Company v. United States, 183 Ct. Cl. 115, 392 F.2d 229 (1968);
J.D. Hedin Construction Company v. United States, 171 Ct. Cl. 70,
347 F.2d 235 (1965).

   The "PRINTING" specification which is at the heart of this
   particular dispute is composed of both design and performance
   elements.  Of the five sentences which make up the
   specification, three of them-"Print head to head," "Face
   prints in black and in a match of Pantone 287 blue ink and
   back prints in black ink only" and "On face, the black
   linematter overprints a blue background (background bleeds all
   sides)"-are wholly design in nature and totally the
   Government's responsibility; i.e., nothing in those
   requirements require the Appellant's input.  The fourth
   sentence-"Background (printing media to be created by the
   contractor) is a security tint with a "VOID" dropout pattern-
   is a mixed specification containing design (the background
   pattern requirement) and performance (the creation of the
   printing media) elements.  The fifth sentence-"The word "VOID"
   (each letter to be approx. 5/8" high) must appear at least 3
   times (vertically, horizontally and diagonally) and must not
   be visible on the printed sheet, but must appear when the
   sheet is reproduced by electrostatic means-also has some
   design characteristics (the requirement for the word "VOID" to
   appear vertically, horizontally and diagonally on the form and
   the size of the letters in the word), but otherwise the
   language is purely one of performance.  However, the fact that
   the "PRINTING" specification contains some performance aspects
   does not alter the conclusion that, by and large, it is a
   design specification; i.e., the design requirements
   predominate over the Contractor's discretion in performance.
   See, Neal & Company v. United States, supra, 19 Cl. Ct. at 468
   ("Moreover, the inclusion of language requiring a completed
   project or assembly to pass certain performance tests or
   standards does not convert a design specification into one of
   performance."  Citing, R.E.D.M. Corporation v. United States,
   supra, 192 Ct. Cl. at 901, 428 F.2d 1304); Harrison
   Western/Franki-Denys, Inc., ENG BCA [ No.] 5523, 92-1 BCA 
   24,582.  See also, Falcon Jet Corporation, supra, 82-1 BCA at
   76,691 ("When a technical proposal is submitted and accepted
   in a two-step procurement, the specific design parameters of
   that proposal control over the general performance
   specifications of the RFTP."  Citing, Hydrospace Electronics &
   Instrument Corporation, ASBCA No. 17922, 74-2 BCA  10,682, at
   50,805).

   No one disputes that the Appellant followed and completely
   satisfied the first three design requirements in the
   "PRINTING" specification on its initial press run of SPFs.
   Indeed, the only controversy involving those three elements
   which took place at the hearing concerned whether or not the
   Contractor used a color ink on its first printing which
   matched Pantone 287 blue, but in the end the parties
   stipulated that the Appellant had satisfied this requirement
   (Tr. 328).70  There also seems to be no question that the
   Contractor met the design requirements of the fifth sentence
   in the specification with respect to the height of each letter
   in the word "VOID" and the configuration of that word three
   times on the form).  Rather, the point of contention on this
   issue involves the fourth sentence of the specification, which
   charged the Appellant with creating the printing media for the
   security tint background for the Government-designed "VOID"
   dropout pattern.

   This is not a typical "implied warranty" case.  Here, the
   Contractor asserts that it did select the appropriate
   "printing media," which in the context of this appeal means
   the selection of inks, screens, other materials, etc.,
   required to produce a security-tint background with the
   desired "VOID" dropout pattern, and successfully tested the
   SPFs on several photocopiers only to be told later that its
   handiwork was a failure.  The Respondent, on the other hand,
   claims that since the design of the "VOID" pantograph was the
   Appellant's responsibility, and because the delivered forms
   would not copy as required, the source of the problem was
   obviously the Contractor's method of performance.  However,
   there is nothing in the record to show that the Contractor's
   production processes were somehow deficient, nor is it clear
   why the Appellant should have been aware of problems in its
   printing processes when the results of its own quality control
   tests prior to shipment indicated that it had manufactured a
   workable form.  See, Colorgraphics Corporation, supra, Sl. op.
   at 22-24.  Nor is this a situation where there was a total
   failure of the forms, since the Contracting Officer found at
   least one GPO machine, in his limited test of the SPFs during
   the hearing, which reproduced the "VOID" pantograph on some
   prescription forms exactly as specified.  R. Exh. No. 1 (Savin
   7500, Room C-830).  See, Wornick Family Foods Company, supra,
   94-2 BCA at 133,339.  The only suggestion in the record of
   possible process defects during the initial press run concerns
   the color of the ink and screens employed, but, as indicated,
   the parties stipulated that the Appellant used the correct
   ink, and the testimony about the screens is inconclusive.

   Moreover, the Board cannot ignore the contrast between the
   active participation of the Respondent in the manufacturing
   process for the reprinted SPFs when compared with its total
   noninvolvement during the production of the original forms.
   Thus, the record indicates that for the reprint process the
   Government not only furnished an exact replica of the SPF
   showing precisely the preferred "VOID" dropout pattern,71 but
   GPO also authorized a press-sheet inspection conducted by the
   customer-agency, and otherwise provided close advice and
   guidance to the Contractor.  During the original press run,
   however, the Appellant was simply given a sample of a specimen
   check, not the actual form, to guide it in creating a
   security-tint background, received only perfunctory responses
   to its inquiries for information, and was otherwise left to
   fend for itself.  In the Board's judgment, the Respondent's
   altered approach in dealing with the Contractor during the
   reprint process constitutes relevant and persuasive evidence
   that the design in the original specifications was defective.
   See, McNally Industries, Inc., ASBCA No. 43027, 93-3 BCA 
   26,130 (the Government's issuance of changes to "correct
   design errors" was held to prove the original specifications
   were defective).  See also, Big Chief Drilling Company v.
   United States, supra, 26 Cl. Ct. at 1294; Hol-Gar
   Manufacturing Corporation v. United States, supra, 360 F.2d at
   638; J.S. Alberici Construction Company, ENG BCA No. 4900,
   90-1 BCA  22,320.

   In the final analysis, the Respondent's attempts to shift
   responsibility for the performance failures to the Appellant
   are unavailing.  On this record, the Government's case amounts
   to little more than a claim of res ipsa loquitur, which is
   insufficient to convert what is essentially a design
   specification into a performance one.  See, Wornick Family
   Foods Company, supra, 94-2 BCA at 133,339.  Therefore, the
   Board holds that since the "PRINTING" specification was,
   overall, a design specification, the Respondent impliedly
   warranted that if the Appellant adhered to its terms the
   result would be a product which would reproduce the "VOID"
   pantograph exactly as specified.  Furthermore, the Board finds
   that the failure of the SPFs to copy as required by the terms
   of the contract was due to an improper design in the
   specification, rather than any performance problems on the
   part of the Appellant.  Moreover, the Board also concludes
   that when the forms failed to reproduce the "VOID" pantograph,
   despite the Contractor's strict adherence to the Government's
   design and using its best production efforts (which its
   quality control tests indicated were successful), it was
   entitled to rely on the Government's implied warranty of
   specifications.   See, Colorgraphics Corporation, supra, Sl.
   op. at 22-24.  Accordingly, the Board holds that the
   Respondent bears the responsibility for nonperformance in this
   case.

      C. The Contracting Officer's rejection of the initial
      shipment of SPFs was in error.  Although he tested the
      forms and found that they did not satisfy the "PRINTING"
      specification's requirement that the word "VOID" appear in
      three places when reproduced by electrostatic means, the
      record fails to disclose what evaluation standards he
      employed in reaching that conclusion.  In the absence of
      such testing or measurement criteria in the specifications,
      elsewhere in the contract, or GPO's quality assurance
      regulations, the basis for the rejection cannot be
      established.

   The ultimate question in this case is whether or not the
   Contracting Officer made an erroneous decision when he
   rejected the initial shipment of SPFs.  Subsumed in this issue
   is another one which asks if the Contracting Officer's
   decisional process was somehow procedurally defective.  As
   previously indicated, the performance requirements of the
   "PRINTING" specification must be read in harmony with the
   contract's quality assurance provisions, especially QATAP.
   Consequently, in order to answer the subsumed question, it is
   necessary to examine the test procedures and evaluation
   standards employed by the Contracting Officer in deciding that
   the forms did not comply with the contract specifications.
   From its review of the evidence, including the contract and
   GPO's quality control regulations, and relevant precedent, the
   Board concludes that the Respondent has failed to establish an
   adequate basis for the rejection because the standards for
   electrostatic reproduction are either imprecise or totally
   nonexistent, certainly none is shown in the record.  Without
   such standards the Contracting Officer's decision rejecting
   the forms was erroneous.

   The starting point for the Board's analysis is the oft-cited
   "black letter" rule that the Government is generally entitled
   to strict compliance with its specifications, including those
   of fixed-price supply contracts.  See, McDonald & Eudy
   Printers, Inc., GPO BCA 06-91 (May 6, 1994), Sl. op. at 20, 94
   WL 377581; Shepard Printing, GPO BCA 23-92 (April 29, 1993),
   Sl. op. at 19, 1993 WL 526848; Chavis and Chavis Printing, GPO
   BCA 20-90 ((February 6, 1991), Sl. op. at 16, 1991 WL 439270;
   Rose Printing Company, GPO BCA 2-87 (June 9, 1989, Sl. op. at
   6, 1989 WL 384982; Fry Communications, Inc., GPO BCA 1-87
   (June 1, 1989), Sl. op. at 5, 1989 WL 384981; Stabbe Senter
   Press, GPO BCA Nos. 13-85 and 19-85 (May 12, 1989), Sl. op. at
   48, 1989 WL 384977; Dependable Printing Company, Inc., supra,
   Sl. op. at 23-24.  Accord, Mega Construction Company, Inc. v.
   United States, 25 Cl. Ct. 735, 741 (1992); S.S. Silberblatt,
   Inc. v. United States, 433 F.2d 1314 (Ct.Cl. 1970); Wholesale
   Tire and Supply Company, Ltd., ASBCA No. 42502, 92-2 BCA 
   24,960; Orlando Williams d/b/a Orlando Williams Janitorial
   Service, ASBCA Nos. 26099, 26872, 84-1 BCA  16,983.  Strict
   compliance can be enforced either by rejecting the defective
   product, or accepting the work at a discount if that is in the
   Government's best interest.  See, McDonald & Eudy Printers,
   Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 21 (citing, Automated Datatron, Inc.,
   supra, Sl. op. at 4).  However, when it insists on strict
   enforcement of the specifications, the Government must prove
   that the product does not meet the requirements of the
   contract; i.e., it bears the initial "burden of persuasion" of
   showing that the rejected work does, in fact, deviate from the
   specifications. See, McDonald & Eudy Printers, Inc., supra,
   Sl. op. at 23-24; Stabbe Senter Press, supra, Sl. op. at 49.
   See also, International Lithographing, GPO BCA 1-88 (December
   19, 1989) Sl. op. at 20, 1989 WL 384986; Mid-America Business
   Forms Corporation, supra Sl. op. at 18-19.  Accord, ABM/Ansley
   Business Materials, GSBCA No. 9367, 93-1 BCA  25,246; Goal
   Chemical Sealants Corporation, GSBCA Nos. 8627, 8628, 88-3 BCA
    21,083; Churchill Chemical Corp., GSBCA Nos. 4321, 4322,
   4346, 4353, 77-1 BCA  12,318, at 59,5000, aff'd, Churchill
   Chemical Corp. v. United States, 221 Ct. Cl. 284, 602 F.2d 358
   (1979); Ramar Company, ASBCA No. 16060, 72-2 BCA  9644; Pams
   Products, Inc., ASBCA No. 15847, 72-1 BCA  9401; Hardeman-
   Monier-Hutcherson, ASBCA No. 11785, 67-1 BCA  6210.  The
   Government usually meets this burden by advising the
   contractor of the results of the inspection it has
   conducted.72  See, McDonald & Eudy Printers, Inc., supra, Sl.
   op. at 24; Stabbe Senter Press, supra, Sl. op. at 49.  The
   burden then shifts to the contractor to prove the Government's
   findings are invalid for one reason or another.  See, McDonald
   & Eudy Printers, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 24; Stabbe Senter
   Press, supra, Sl. op. at 49; International Lithographing,
   supra, Sl. op. at 21.  Accord, Nuclear Research Corporation v.
   United States, 814 F.2d 647, 650 (Fed. Cir. 1987); Riverport
   Industries, Inc., ASBCA Nos. 28089, 28090, 28091, 29577, 86-2
   BCA  18,835, mot. for reconsid. den., 86-3 BCA  19,050;
   Continental Chemical Corporation, GSBCA No. 4483, 76-2 BCA 
   11,948; Shamrock Industrial Maintenance, DOT CAB No. 72-11,
   72-2 BCA  9482; C.W. Roen Construction Company, DOT CAB No.
   75-43, 76-2 BCA  12,215.  Otherwise, the presumption that the
   Government's tests are conducted correctly will prevail.  See,
   Astro Science Corp. v. United States, 200 Ct. Cl. 354, 360,
   471 F.2d 624, 627 (1973); Integrated Systems Group, Inc.,
   GSBCA No. 11602-P, 92-1 BCA  24,762; Donald R. Stewart &
   Associates, AGBCA Nos. 84-226-1, 84-227-1, 84-228-1, 84-239-1,
   84-240-1, 84-241-1, 85-168-1, 89-222-1, 89-223-1, 89-224-1,
   89-225-1, 92-1 BCA  24,705; Goal Chemical Sealants
   Corporation, supra.  See also, Horn Waterproofing Corporation,
   DOT CAB No. 73-24, 74-2 BCA  10,933.

   GPO's procurement regulation establishes the basic framework
   for the inspection and testing of procured products.  Apart
   from providing the foundation for QATAP, and establishing the
   program as an integral part of most procurement contacts, the
   PPR also states that such inspection and testing "shall be
   performed in accordance with article 14 `Inspection and Tests'
   of Contract Clauses in GPO Contract Terms (Pub. 310.2)."73
   See, PPR, Chap. XIII, Sec. 1,  3(a),(b), 4(c)(2),(g).
   Furthermore, the PPR, inter alia: (1) provides guidance for
   gathering inspection samples; (2) sets forth basic inspection
   procedures; (3) makes special provisions for the inspection of
   departmental random copies (blue label copies); and (4)
   requires that appropriate records and documentation of all
   quality assurance actions be maintained.  See, PPR, Chap.
   XIII, Sec. 1,  4(g)(1)-(4), h.  Reduced to its essentials, a
   reading of the PPR, the various QATAP manuals incorporated by
   reference therein, and the "Inspections and Tests" article of
   GPO Contract Terms, indicates clearly that the proper
   inspection and testing of procured products consists of three
   things: (1) a sample which is randomly selected and adequate
   enough to be representative of the lot; (2) the use of proper
   testing procedures and techniques; and (3) the presence of
   objective standards by which to measure the procured product.
   See, e.g., B. P. Printing and Office Supplies, GPO BCA 22-91
   (February 5, 1993), Sl. op. at 18, 1993 WL 311371 (discussing
   sampling techniques and citing QATAP Technical Manual, GPO
   Publication 355.1 (March 1989) and GPO Technical Report No.
   27, July 1, 1988, Subject: Acceptance Sampling); Matthew's
   Printing, Inc., GPO BCA 31-88 (March 14, 1990), Sl. op.  at
   4-5, 1990 WL 454983 (sampling); Sterling Printing, supra, Sl.
   op. at 8, fn. 13 (discussion of testing procedures for paper);
   Fry Communications, GPO BCA 22-84 (February 20, 1986), Sl. op.
   at 10-17, 1986 WL 181462 (discussion of techniques used for
   measuring the color match of paper under QATAP and the JCP
   Paper Specification Standards); McDonald & Eudy Printers,
   Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 24-25 (discussing how defects are
   measured under QATAP); Shepard Printing, supra, Sl. op. at
   15-18 (discussing how defects are assessed under QATAP).  As
   previously mentioned, a contracting officer who shows that he
   has adhered to the testing and inspection requirements of the
   contract is entitled to have his determination of product
   quality upheld.  See, French/Bray, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 17.

   In this case, the Appellant has not challenged the size of the
   sample or the method used by the Respondent to select the
   sample to insure that it was as representative as possible of
   the lot.74  Cf., B. P. Printing and Office Supplies, supra,
   Sl. op. at 18-19.  Nor has the Contractor contested GPO's
   testing methodology. Cf., Shepard Printing, supra, Sl. op. at
   15-18.  Indeed, the only possible testing technique for
   discovering the alleged defect in this case-copying the SPF by
   electrostatic means and visibly checking to see if the word
   "VOID" appeared vertically, horizontally and diagonally on the
   form-is contained in the "PRINTING" specification itself, and
   was used by both the Contractor and the Government.  However,
   the Appellant has expressly questioned the standards applied
   by the Respondent in rejecting the forms (Tr. 156-57).75  In
   the Board's view, that issue describes the crux of the problem
   in this case.

   The law is clear that before the Government can reject a
   contractor's product, either as a prelude to default or some
   lesser action, it must first establish specific, quantifiable,
   objective, and firm criteria indicating the level of quality
   which the product is expected to meet.  See, Wornick Family
   Foods Company, supra, 94-2 BCA  26,808 (the Government
   improperly rejected pears that were pink, beige, brown, red,
   reddish brown, or gray following dehydration because the
   contract for freeze dehydrated fruit had no provision for
   rejecting the fruit for discoloration); John L. Hall dba Taiga
   Resource Consultants, AGBCA No. 92-217-1, 93-3 BCA  26,212
   (the contract criteria were not specific enough to support a
   Government deduction based on the contractor's failure to
   provide sufficiently thorough briefings); Shirley Contracting
   Corporation and ATEC Contracting Corporation, ENG BCA No.
   4650, 85-3 BCA  18,214 (the Government's rejection of a
   contractor's source of rock was improper because the contract
   did not set forth any objective performance criteria and the
   standards that the Government had insisted on were in excess
   of its own prevailing standards and those accepted in the
   industry); Chandler-Wilbert Vault Company, VACAB No. 1444,
   80-2 BCA  14,682 (rejection of the contractor's grave liners
   for failure to prevent sinkage in graves was improper because
   there was no specified test or standard in the contract for
   "sunken graves").  Stated otherwise, the Government cannot
   leave a contractor "in the dark" with respect to the quality
   standards it is expected to strive toward, and then rely on
   unclear, subjective, or indefinite standards to reject a
   product, because such conduct is tantamount to setting a
   contractor up for failure.  See, See, Mid-American Engineering
   and Manufacturing, ASBCA No. 20939, 78-1 BCA  12,870 (in a
   contract for the supply of electrical harnesses, where the
   Government, without showing a sample of an acceptable product
   to the contractor, rejected the contractor's first article
   submission because too many air bubbles were present in the
   potting compound encapsulating the cables, and then replied to
   the contractor's request for the establishment of some
   criteria as to the number of air bubbles allowed by stating
   that there should be no, or almost no, visible air bubbles, a
   default termination following the first article test failure
   was improper because the performance criterion thus
   established was too indefinite).  One way to set such a
   standard, of course, is to provide the contractor with a
   sample of an acceptable product.  Id., at 62,629.  With
   respect to printing contracts, such as the one here, another
   way would be to require proofs or a press-sheet inspection
   prior to production, as the Government eventually did for the
   reprint in this case.
   The "indefinite standards" issue is not a question which the
   Board, or its predecessor the GPO Contract Appeals Board
   (GPOCAB), has faced very often.76  Consequently, there is a
   paucity of agency precedent precisely on point.  However, at
   least one GPOCAB ad hoc panel decision-Elgin Business Forms,
   GPOCAB 10-84 (October 19, 1984), 1984 WL 148108-is closely
   analogous to the situation in this appeal and is particularly
   instructive on the issue.  Elgin Business Forms was a default
   termination case involving a contract to print 270,000
   marginally punched continuous forms for the National
   Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  The contract
   contained the usual specifications concerning paper color,
   dimensions, the number of parts, placement of the carbon
   paper, alignment and spacing of holes, etc., and a requirement
   that the forms run on the Honeywell PRU 1200 Printer, which
   was the only piece of equipment mentioned in the contract.
   The contractor was not furnished with a sample copy of the
   form by either NASA or GPO.  Shortly after delivery of the
   forms, NASA complained that they were unacceptable because,
   inter alia, misaligned holes caused the printer to jam and the
   carbon paper ripped during the decollating process.  In
   response to NASA's complaint, representatives of the customer-
   agency and the contractor conducted tests on two boxes of the
   forms, with the following results: (1) on forms from the first
   box, the printer jammed three times because of misaligned
   holes and twice because of improper stacking; and (2) forms
   from the second box only jammed three times because of
   improper stacking (no feeder or decollating problems were
   observed).  GPO separately tested two boxes of the forms and
   found: (1) forms from half of the first box, which was tested
   on the Honeywell PRU 1200 Printer, jammed four times while
   there was one stacking problem; and (2) on forms from the
   second box, the printer jammed twice, again there was one
   stacking problem, and decollating was unacceptable at normal
   operating speed.  Accordingly, GPO rejected the forms on the
   ground that they did not meet the minimum specifications, and
   then defaulted the contract when the contractor failed to
   replace them as instructed by the contracting officer.  No
   excess reprocurement costs were assessed.

   The GPOCAB ad hoc panel held that GPO had not sustained its
   burden of proof of showing that the contractor's forms failed
   to meet the contract specifications, and overturned the
   contracting officer's default determination.  See, Elgin
   Business Forms, supra, Sl. op. at 11.  The panel used a three-
   pronged rationale to explain why the default was inappropriate
   under the factual situation in that case, namely: (1) neither
   the contract nor the specifications provided specific
   performance and testing standards or requirements; (2) a
   default cannot be based on unstated specifications; and (3)
   the inspection and tests conducted on the forms were not
   dispositive.  See, Elgin Business Forms, supra, Sl. op. at
   5-10.  The reasoning of the panel with respect to the
   vagueness of the specifications is particularly illuminating
   in the context of this appeal, and is set forth in partial
   detail here:

      Section 2.20(c) of the contract provides that "special and
      performance tests shall be as described in the
      specifications."  Section 301 of the contract provides:

         Forms produced under the contract must be of first class
         workmanship in materials suitable for their intended
         use.  All operations and materials such as printing,
         collating, punching, perforating, registration, joining,
         splicing, paper, and carbon leaves shall be such as will
         ensure satisfactory continuous operation over makes,
         kinds of equipment, and usage specified.  [Emphasis
         added.]

      The Panel agrees . . . that the criteria "satisfactory
      continuous operation" and "unsatisfactory performance"
      (section 2.20(e)) ". . . leave room for interpretation."
      [Record citation omitted.]  The [contract] specifications
      do not establish any performance criteria usage tests or
      quality standards.  While the contract is voluminous, the
      specifications are woefully vague and insufficient if their
      purpose was to ensure that NASA, the ordering agency,
      received a product which would meet its particular needs.

      The deficiency in the specifications in the contract is the
      glaring failure of the government to precisely state what
      its performance requirements were and how it would test to
      determine conformity with those requirements.  While the
      specifications informed the Appellant that the forms would
      be run on a Honeywell PRU 1200 Printer they did not
      indicate the expected performance level.  [Record citation
      omitted.]  Likewise the specifications did not contain a
      performance standard for the decollator which is an
      integral part of the process.  Although the specifications
      fail to contain a particular brand of decollating
      equipment, the Panel finds that the failure to state any
      performance level for the decollator is a critical
      deficiency on the part of the government.

      The Appeal File and the record indicate that the forms were
      subject to several tests.  Unfortunately, except for the
      test ordered by the Panel, the reports contained in the
      Official Appeal File neither contain a statement of
      sampling nor performance criteria.  For example, [a
      December 9, 1983, memorandum from NASA to the contracting
      officer] only states that [NASA] had received 540 cartons
      of forms ". . . which were unacceptable ."  [Record
      citation omitted.]  The memo does not state the number of
      boxes tested, how or when they were tested, or most
      importantly what were the acceptability criteria.
      Similarly, . . . on January 11, 1984, [representatives of
      NASA and the contractor] inspected two boxes and rejected
      them because "paper holes do not line up with carbon holes
      causing the printer to jam, paper appears to be shaded, and
      carbon rips when paper is decollated."  [Record citation
      omitted.]  The Panel finds that the inspection of two boxes
      out of 540 is not an adequate sample upon which to default
      this contract.  Society Brand Hat Co., ASBCA [No.] 6904,
      1962 BCA  3349.

      . . . Likewise, the Panel finds that the tests conducted on
      January 17 and 30, 1984, were defective because of the
      sample size and the failure to specifically state the
      expected performance level.  The GPO did not sustain its
      burden of proving that the forms produced by Elgin did not
      meet the specifications.  Pams Products, Inc., ASBCA [No.]
      15847, 72-1 BCA  9401.

      The Panel was not presented with any evidence which proved
      that the Appellant had not met the standard of satisfactory
      continuous operation.  In the absence of any definition by
      the government the Panel construes the requirement of
      "satisfactory continuous operation" to mean something less
      than continuous operation.  If the forms were expected to
      run continuously without any stoppages, the contract should
      not have used the term "satisfactory."  The term
      satisfactory implies to the Panel a contemplated standard
      of operation which expects some stoppages.  The Panel is
      unaware of any product which runs continuously without ever
      stopping.  The question then is how many stoppages
      constitute satisfactory?  The Panel believes that
      "satisfactory" like "beauty" is in the eye of the beholder.
      It is an imprecise term which should have been defined
      exactly in the specifications.  [Footnote omitted.]

      The record indicates that NASA . . . has used this type of
      form for approximately ten years.  [Record citation
      omitted.]  During this long period of time NASA should have
      established a specific performance standard by which it
      would measure acceptability.  However, both the Official
      Appeal File and Hearing Record are devoid of any evidence
      of NASA's past experience.  Such evidence or even common
      trade practice performance standards for this type of form
      would have given the Panel a basis of comparison with the
      existing test results.  Gholson, Byars & Holmes
      Construction Co. v. United States, 173 Ct. Cl. 374 (1965).

See, Elgin Business Forms, supra, Sl. op. at 5-8.77  See also,
Electronic Composition, [No GPOCAB No.] (December 22, 1978), Sl.
op. at 34, 1978 WL 22339 ("We have scrutinized the subject
contract in vain for any stated requirements that [the electronic
typography system] perform `economically', or that it have multi-
reel or automatic restart capability or that it should produce
pages at a specified rate.  As we stated earlier, the contractor
will not be bound by the unexpressed intent of the Government."
Citing, Elgin National Watch Company, ASBCA Nos. 10421, 10589,
10698, 10730, 11721, 67-2 BCA  6400; ITT Arctic Services, Inc.
v. United States, supra).

   The Board has no doubt that the holding in Elgin Business
   Forms was correct as a matter of law.  Consequently, and its
   teachings can be applied to the facts in this case, which are
   substantially similar.78  The Appellant here, like the
   contractor in Elgin Business Forms, was not provided with a
   sample of the form it was expected to produce by either the VA
   or GPO, despite its request for one, but rather was told to
   follow the specifications.  However, in contrast to Elgin
   Business Forms where the contract identified a specific make
   of printer (the Honeywell PRU 1200 Printer) as a measure of
   operational performance, the Contractor here was not told that
   the SPFs would have to copy on any particular photocopier or
   range of photocopy machines.  Given this lack of guidance, the
   Appellant did the only thing a reasonably prudent contractor
   could do under the circumstances-test the forms on its own
   photocopier and several others to make sure that the forms
   copied as required before shipping them to the VA.  As the
   record shows, those tests satisfied the Contractor that the
   word "VOID" would appear three times "when reproduced by
   electrostatic means."  If the Respondent intended the "VOID"
   pantograph to reproduce on all photocopiers, it should have
   expressly told the Contractor so.  Although, for reasons
   already explained, producing a "VOID" pantograph which will
   copy without fail on every copy machine manufactured is
   technologically impossible,79 no one doubts the Government's
   right to require complete or perfect performance in its
   specifications.  See, Thermal Electronic, Inc. v. United
   States, supra, 25 Cl. Ct. at 673.  On the other hand, if the
   Respondent, in giving full effect to the contract's quality
   assurance provisions, meant to indicate that product
   acceptability could be something less than total success with
   respect to copying, then it had an obligation to make that
   clear to the Contractor; e.g., identify which brand of
   photocopiers or range of machines would be used, or establish
   a failure rate for copying, based on VA's experience with the
   forms, which the customer-agency would tolerate.  The
   Government did neither in this case.

   In Elgin Business Forms, the GPOCAB was dealing with
   performance specifications in the contract which were
   indefinite or vague.  Here, the Board has diligently searched
   the four corners of the agreement, including QATAP and its
   supporting manuals and reports, in vain for some clue as to
   what reasonable standard the Contractor was expected to meet
   for its forms to be considered acceptable in copying the
   "VOID" pantograph.  The problem, as the Board sees it, is that
   no QATAP category precisely fits the alleged defect in this
   case.  The closest analogy for the word "VOID" not reproducing
   as required would seem to be the finishing attribute for loss
   of information (F-17), which is defined as "any omission of or
   damage to the printed image which impairs the transmission of
   the intended information."80  See, QATAP, p. 44.  However,
   neither the VA nor GPO's inspector, Nowalk, considered or
   measured the failure of the word "VOID" to appear as a loss of
   information; i.e., the F-17 box is not checked on either the
   Notice of Quality Defects or the Inspection Report (R4 File,
   Tabs H and K).  Perhaps, more importantly, Nowalk's report
   classifies the "VOID" pantograph problem as a "major" defect,
   whereas as QATAP clearly states that loss of information is
   always assessed as a "critical" defect (R4 File, Tab K).  See,
   QATAP, pp. ix, 44.  In short, unless there is an undisclosed
   standard somewhere which provided the yardstick for measuring
   the nonappearance of the word "VOID" when the form was
   photocopied, the quality problem at issue must be seen as sui
   generis and one without any established norm or tolerances.
   Therefore, when the Respondent rejected the forms under these
   circumstances and required the Appellant to reprint them, it
   was, in effect, making a constructive change in the contract;
   indeed, the reprint was practically a different product.  See,
   Service Engineering Company, ASBCA No. 40275, 94-1 BCA 
   26,382; Gary Aircraft Corporation, ASBCA No. 21731, 91-3 BCA 
   24,122; Pinay Flooring Products, Inc., GSBCA No. 9286, 91-2
   BCA  23.682; Harris System International, Inc., ASBCA No.
   33280, 88-2 BCA  20,641; Kahn Communications, Inc., ASBCA No.
   27461, 86-3 BCA  19,249; AGH Industries, Inc., supra, 85-1
   BCA  17,784; McCrory Electric Company, GSBCA No. 5363, 80-2
   BCA  14,686,

   Thus, the question remains-what standard did the Contracting
   Officer use to reject the forms?  At the hearing, the
   Contracting Officer testified that he used a very simply
   litmus test-the word "VOID" either appeared or did not appear
   when the SPF was photocopied, was legible or not legible, was
   visible to the naked eye or not visible (Tr. 267-68).  The
   Appellant applied the same standard in its pre-delivery tests
   of the forms (Tr. 126-27).  However, by definition, such a
   standard is not an objective one, but rather is subjective and
   capable of creating great discrepancies in test results among
   individual evaluators in different locations, as occurred
   here.  See, Wornick Family Foods Company, supra, 94-2 BCA at
   133,341; Shirley Contracting Corporation and ATEC Contracting
   Corporation, supra, 85-3 BCA at 91,428-29.  Consequently, the
   demonstrative evidence in this case is of great significance
   in resolving the standards issue.

   As one would expect, the demonstrative evidence submitted by
   the respective parties is in direct conflict.  The Appellant's
   exhibits show that the "VOID" pantograph reproduced as
   specified when samples of SPFs from the rejected press run
   were tested on its photocopiers and seven other machines in
   Emporia, Kansas; i.e., there were nine successful evaluations
   of the forms (App. Exh. Nos. 10-18).  The Respondent, on the
   other hand, tested the samples of the forms on five copy
   machines in GPO, and with one exception (the Savin 7500, Room
   C-830), the "VOID' pantograph did not copy; i.e., there was
   only one partial success out of the five photocopiers used (R.
   Exh. No. 1).81  Although the parties obtained different
   results from the tests they made at different locations, when
   their demonstrative evidence is considered as a whole, the
   Board finds that of the 14 photocopy machines used, the "VOID"
   pantograph reproduced as required on all of the samples forms,
   or on some of them, on 10 machines-a 71 percent success rate.
   It is not for the Board to determine whether reproduction of
   the "VOID" pantograph 71 percent of the time amounts to
   acceptable performance-that is a matter for the Contracting
   Officer in the exercise of his discretion.  However, the
   demonstrative evidence does illustrate the underlying
   technical problem with respect to developing proper test
   procedures for the SPF, namely, different results may be
   achieved on different equipment.

   We are told by the authorities that photocopiers vary greatly
   in the quality of copies they produce.  See, Beach, Shepro,
   and Russon, supra, p. 145.  Such variables as the age of the
   machine, its frequency of use, the toner level, the
   cleanliness of the glass, and even the quality of the original
   to be copied, can affect the quality of the copies produced by
   any particular photocopier.  Id., pp. 145-46.  As the
   Appellant's witness, Cripps, indicated during the hearing,
   photocopying is not "foolproof," and the fact that the patent
   holder, Standard Register, did not provide any warranty with
   respect to the copying quality of the "VOID" pantograph lends
   some support to that conclusion (Tr. 230, 237-38).

   Apart from the practical considerations involved in testing
   the forms on different photocopiers, there are also legal
   consequences attached to the conflict in the demonstrative
   evidence.  Where, as here, a contractor tests supplies from
   the same production run as the Government, and submits its own
   test results tending to disprove the results obtained by the
   Government, it raises a question as to whether the product
   conforms to the contract specifications or not, and places the
   validity of the Government's tests in issue.  See, Donald R.
   Stewart & Associates, supra, 92-1 BCA  24,705; Goal Chemical
   Sealants Corporation, supra, 88-3 BCA  21,083; G. Santoro &
   Sons, Inc., VACAB No. 755, 68-2 BCA  7282.  In such a case,
   because the Government has the burden of proof, a finding that
   it has failed to adduce sufficient probative evidence to
   persuade the contract appeals board that the product did not
   meet the contract requirements is warranted.  See, Unlimited
   Supply Company, Inc., GSBCA No. 12371, 94-3 BCA  27,170, at
   135,393 (citing, Praoil, S.r.L., ASBCA Nos. 41499, 44369, 94-2
   BCA  26,840; Air-O-Plastik Corporation, GSBCA 4802, 4870,
   4925, 4965, 81-2 BCA  15,338).  See also, Communications,
   Ltd., ASBCA Nos. 23261, 80-1 BCA  14,368, at 70,836 (the
   proof offered by the contractor was sufficient to overcome the
   presumption that the tests conducted by the agency were
   proper, and agency failed to carry its burden of going forward
   with the evidence).  Simply stated, the rule is:

      [W]here there is proof of differing tests results and no
      additional evidence is presented, the issue of conformity
      with specification must be decided against the party having
      the burden of proof.  E.g., Lisbon Contractors [v. United
      States [34 CCF  75,358 ] 828 F.2d 759 (Fed. Cir. 1987)],
      [828] F.2d at 764-65 (the party with the burden loses if
      evidence on issue is evenly balanced); Arden Engineering
      Co., supra, at 82,553-54; Universal Steel Strapping Co.,
      ASBCA No. 13686, 69-2 BCA  7799 at 36,212.

See, Praoil, S.r.L., supra, 94-2 BCA at 133,502.  In this case,
the Respondent did introduce additional evidence in the form of
further tests of sample SPFs which tended to confirm its original
results, with one exception.  However, the Board believes that
these additional test results are insufficient to sustain the
Government's burden of showing conclusively that the failure of
the "VOID" pantograph to copy as required was due to defects in
the form itself, rather than any differences in the Respondent's
and the Appellant's copying equipment.82  Accordingly, the Board
finds that the evidence of test results, overall, is
inconclusive, and does not form a basis for rejecting the
original SPFs.  See, Shepard Printing, supra, Sl. op. at 19
(GPO's Inspection Report, standing alone, would not support the
Government's decision, made in partial reliance thereon, to
default the contract).

   In summary, when the Board considers the record evidence in
   this case, it finds that the absence of clear and objective
   standards for evaluating and measuring the copying capability
   of the ordered SPFs is a fatal defect in the contract.
   Without such criteria, testing performance against the
   specifications becomes untrustworthy, vague and inadequate for
   the principle purpose of the contract, providing the VA with a
   product which would meet its particular needs.  Similarly,
   although the matter was not contested, the Board cannot ignore
   the fact that the Respondent decided that the first shipment
   of SPFs were rejectable after evaluating only 50 forms on
   three copy machines (R4 File, Tab K).  The QATAP Manual
   provides guidance as to the appropriate size of the sample for
   particular order or lot sizes.  See, B. P. Printing and Office
   Supplies, supra, Sl. op. at 20 (citing, QATAP Manual, pp. 5,
   6).  Applying the QATAP Manual guidelines to this case, the
   sample size for the first lot of 100,000 pads of forms should
   have been 400 pads (40,000 forms).  See, QATAP Manual, pp. 5,
   6.  Therefore, the Board believes that it was unreasonable for
   the Respondent to base its decision to reject the original
   shipment on such a small sample as 50 forms.  See, Elgin
   Business Forms, supra, Sl. op. at 6.  Cf. B. P. Printing and
   Office Supplies, supra, Sl. op. at 20-21.  Accordingly, for
   all of the foregoing reasons, the Board concludes that the
   Contracting Officer's decision rejecting the forms was in
   error and must be reversed.83
      D. Although the Appellant is entitled to compensation for
      the rejected shipment of 10,000,000 SPFs, payment for the
      remaining approximately 9,600,000 forms still stored in its
      plant is not authorized under applicable law.

   The last issue before the Board basically concerns the remedy
   in this case, and is easily disposed of.  There is no doubt
   that the Appellant is entitled to compensation for the
   rejected shipment of 10,000,000 SPFs both on the theory that
   the "implied warranty of specifications" shifted the
   responsibility for nonperformance to the Respondent, and the
   ground that the rejection was erroneous because the contract
   failed to provide specific, quantifiable, and objective
   standards indicating the level of quality which the product
   was expected to meet.  See, Colorgraphics Corporation, supra,
   Sl. op. at 25; Elgin Business Forms, supra, Sl. op. at 11.
   However, the Contractor also seeks payment for the additional
   96,000 pads of undelivered forms in its printing plant from
   the same production run as the rejected forms (Tr. 214).  See,
   RPTC, p. 5.  The Respondent, on the other hand, has maintained
   throughout these proceedings that the undelivered SPFs are not
   part of this case because they were never shipped to the VA or
   rejected by GPO; i.e., the Government's position is that only
   the 100,000 pads which were delivered to the customer-agency
   are involved in this appeal (Tr. 271, 309).  See, RPTC, p. 6.
   The Board agrees with the Respondent.

   It is well-settled that if a sample from a lot is rejected
   only that lot is rejected.  See, Kitco, Inc., ASBCA No. 31809,
   91-3 BCA  24,190; Pierce Coal Sales International, Inc.,
   ASBCA No. 33243, 87-1 BCA  19,667; Varo, Inc., ASBCA No.
   25446, 86-1 BCA  18,531; Associate-Aircraft-Tool and
   Manufacturing, Inc., ASBCA No. 7255, 1963 BCA  3730.  Also
   cf., Infotec Development, Inc., ASBCA Nos. 31809, 32235, 91-2
   BCA  23,909; Henry Angelo & Company, Inc., ASBCA No. 30502,
   87-1 BCA  19,619.  The contract in this case clearly provided
   for shipment of the entire order of 600,000 pads of forms in
   two installments.  The first delivery of 100,000 pads was to
   be sent to the VA by July 27, 1992.  The remaining 500,000
   pads were scheduled for shipment by August 17, 1992 (R4 File,
   Tab A, p. 3).  Since it is undisputed that the only SPFs
   actually shipped, tested and rejected were the 100,000 pads of
   the first installment, under applicable principles only those
   forms are affected by the Board's ruling that the Government's
   rejection was in error.  Consequently, there is no legal basis
   for the Board to direct the Respondent to pay for the
   approximately 96,000 pads of forms remaining in the
   Appellant's plant.  Accordingly, to that extent, the
   Contractor's appeal is denied.

   V. CONCLUSIONS

   In summary, the Board concludes that while the relevant
   contract specifications are not ambiguous, the "PRINTING"
   specification is, by and large, a design specification
   authored by the Government.  See, Neal & Company v. United
   States, supra, 19 Cl. Ct. at 468; R.E.D.M. Corporation v.
   United States, supra, 192 Ct. Cl. at 901, 428 F.2d 1304.
   Consequently, when the Respondent instructed the Appellant to
   follow the specifications in producing the SPFs, it impliedly
   warranted that the results would be adequate and acceptable.
   See,  Blake Construction Company v. United States, supra, 987
   F.2d at 745; Hol-Gar Manufacturing Corporation v. United
   States, supra, 360 F.2d at 638; D.E.W., Incorporated, supra,
   94-3 BCA at 135,459.  Since a defective Government design was
   the real reason that the Appellant's original SPFs failed to
   reproduce the "VOID" pantograph as required by in the
   "PRINTING" specification, the Government's implied warranty
   shifts the burden of nonperformance to the Respondent and
   entitles the Contractor to compensation for the rejected
   shipment of forms.  See, Colorgraphics Corporation, supra, Sl.
   op. at 25.  Accord, Wornick Family Foods Company, supra, 94-2
   BCA at 133,340.

   Second, the Board concludes that the absence of specific,
   quantifiable, objective, and firm criteria indicating the
   level of performance which the SPFs were expected to meet,
   either in the specifications or elsewhere in the contract,
   invalidates the Respondent's rejection of the first shipment
   of forms.  See, Elgin Business Forms, supra, Sl. op. at 5-8;
   Electronic Composition, supra, Sl. op. at 34.  Accord, Shirley
   Contracting Corporation and ATEC Contracting Corporation,
   supra, 85-3 BCA at 91,428; Chandler-Wilbert Vault Company,
   supra, 80-2 BCA at 72,412; Mid-American Engineering and
   Manufacturing, supra, 78-1 BCA at 62,629-30.  Although both
   the Respondent and the Appellant used the same test to measure
   the success of the ordered product-the word "VOID" either
   appeared when the SPF was photocopied or did not-that
   standard, by definition, is subjective rather than objective,
   and can create great discrepancies in test results among
   inspectors and locations.  See, Wornick Family Foods Company,
   supra, 94-2 BCA at 133,341; Shirley Contracting Corporation
   and ATEC Contracting Corporation, supra, 85-3 BCA at
   91,428-29.  In that regard, the Appellant's demonstrative
   evidence was sufficient to raise a question as to whether or
   not the original SPFs conformed to the contract
   specifications, and placed the validity of the tests which the
   Respondent relied on to reject the forms in issue.  See,
   Donald R. Stewart & Associates, supra, 92-1 BCA at 123,311;
   Goal Chemical Sealants Corporation, supra, 88-3 at 106,447.
   Therefore, the Government had the burden of going forward with
   the evidence, and while it did introduce additional test
   results, they were inconclusive and insufficient to carry its
   burden of showing that the form itself, and not equipment
   differences, was the cause of the failure of the "VOID"
   pantograph to copy as required.  See, Unlimited Supply
   Company, Inc., supra, 94-3 BCA at 135,393; Praoil, S.r.L.,
   supra, 94-2 BCA at 133,502; Communications, Ltd., supra, 80-1
   BCA at 70,836.  Furthermore, the size of the sample (50 SPFs)
   on which the Respondent relied in rejecting the original forms
   was too small to provide a valid basis for measuring their
   performance.  See, Elgin Business Forms, supra, Sl. op. at 6.
   Cf. B. P. Printing and Office Supplies, supra, Sl. op. at
   20-21.  Therefore, the evidence of test results, overall, does
   not form a basis for rejecting the original SPFs.  See,
   Shepard Printing, supra, Sl. op. at 19.  Accordingly, an
   additional ground for sustaining the Appellant's claim as to
   the first shipment of forms is that the Contracting Officer's
   decision to reject them was in error.  See, Elgin Business
   Forms, supra, Sl. op. at 11.

   Finally, the Board concludes that the scope of the remedy in
   this case must be limited to the first delivery of forms.
   Because the contract clearly provided for shipment of the
   entire order in two installments, and it is undisputed that
   the only SPFs shipped, tested and rejected were the 100,000
   pads of the first installment, there is no legal basis for the
   Board to direct the Respondent to pay for the forms from the
   original press run which remain in the Appellant's plant.84
   See, Kitco, Inc., supra, 91-3 BCA  24,190; Pierce Coal Sales
   International, Inc., supra, 87-1 BCA  19,667; Varo, Inc.,
   supra, 86-1 BCA  18,531.  Accordingly, since the 100,000
   rejected pads of forms represents 1/6, or 16.7 percent, of the
   entire order of 600,000 pads, the Board concludes that the
   Appellant is entitled to a proportionate payment of the
   original contract price of $533,000.00 as compensation, or
   $89,011.00, and it will so order.85

   ORDER

   From the foregoing analysis and for the reasons enunciated,
   the Board finds and concludes that the Appellant has shown
   that the Contracting Officer's rejection of the initial
   shipment of 100,000 pads of SPFs was erroneous, and it is
   entitled to compensation for those forms.  Since the rejected
   shipment represents 1/6 of the entire order of forms, the
   Board finds that the Respondent owes the Contractor an
   equitable adjustment in the amount of $89,011.00, as a fair
   and reasonable compensation in this case.  THEREFORE, the
   Board REVERSES the Contracting Officer's decision denying the
   claim and REMANDS the appeal with instructions that
   appropriate arrangements be made to pay the Contractor in
   accordance with this opinion.  Universal Printing Company,
   supra, Sl. op. at 56; Banta Company, supra, Sl. op. at 62.  On
   the other hand, the Contractor has not sustained its claim to
   be paid for the undelivered 96,000 pads at its plant.
   ACCORDINGLY, to that extent, its appeal is DENIED.

It is so Ordered.

May 19, 1995                     STUART M. FOSS
                           Administrative Judge
_______________

    1 The Contracting Officer's appeal file, assembled pursuant
    to Rule 4 of the Board's Rules of Practice and Procedure, was
    delivered to the Board on February 16, 1993.  GPO Instruction
    110.12, Subject: Board of Contract Appeals Rules of Practice
    and Procedure, dated September 17, 1984 (Board Rules), Rule
    4(a).  It will be referred to hereafter as the R4 File, with
    an appropriate Tab letter also indicated.  The R4 File
    consists of twenty-four (24) documents identified as Tab A
    through Tab X.
    2 The court reporter's transcript shall be referred to
    hereinafter as "Tr." with an appropriate page number
    thereafter.
    3 The Respondent's brief will be referred to hereinafter as
    "R. Brf.", with an appropriate page citation thereafter.  The
    Appellant's brief will be cited as "App. Brf.," with an
    appropriate page number thereafter.  Furthermore, at the
    hearing both parties introduced documentary evidence.  The
    Appellant's exhibits will be referred to as "App. Exh. No.,"
    with an appropriate number thereafter.  The Respondent's
    exhibit will be referred to as "R. Exh. No. 1".
    4 During the hearing, the Appellant introduced a number of
    exhibits relating to the previous printing of the SPFs.  See,
    App. Exh. Nos. 2, 6 and 7.  That job, Jacket No. 305-949, was
    issued on November 1, 1991, and was awarded to Standard
    Register (Tr. 66, 128, 145, 228).  See, R4 File, Tab D.
    According to the record testimony, although the Appellant
    received a copy of the 1991 solicitation, it did not submit a
    bid because not enough time was left to prepare one, and
    besides it had no presses available for the work (Tr. 52-53,
    54, 64, 145, 186; App. Exh. No. 2).  However, it continued to
    maintain a file on the job, and when GPO solicited the work
    again, the Contractor submitted an offer and was awarded the
    contract (Tr. 17-18, 54, 228-29).
    5 Unlike the previous job by Standard Register, which showed
    the word "VOID" once, the SPFs printed under this contract
    used the word three times (Tr. 41, 65-66, 301).  The "VOID"
    pantograph required in the specifications is a security
    feature designed to deter persons from reproducing the
    document for unauthorized or fraudulent purposes, or at least
    make it more difficult to produce a forgery (Tr. 242).
    Essentially, it is a series of different size dots in a
    screen pattern with an image inserted, with the dots being
    lighter and smaller in size, so that when the document is
    photocopied the dots should disappear and expose the image
    (Tr. 232).  The key security feature is the repetitive use of
    a word, in this case "VOID", in the background in such a way
    that the dots hide the image until it is reproduced by
    electrostatic means (Tr. 55-56, 164, 233).  In printing
    industry parlance, the "VOID" pantograph would be a "dropout"
    pattern, i.e., one in which halftone dots are eliminated when
    overexposed.  See, Mark Beach, Steve Shepro, and Ken Russon,
    Getting It Printed: How to Work with Printers and Graphic
    Arts Services to Assure Quality, Stay on Schedule, and
    Control Costs, (Coast to Coast Books, Portland, Oregon,
    1986), p. 198 (hereinafter Beach, Shepro, and Russon).  There
    is no single background pattern for the "VOID" pantograph
    (Tr. 233).  See also, Pocket Pal: A Graphic Arts Production
    Handbook (International Paper Company, Memphis, Tennessee,
    1989), p. 191 (defining a "dropout" as "[p]ortions of
    originals that do not reproduce, especially colored lines or
    background areas (often on purpose)."
    6 The sequential numbering system and the requirement that
    the SPFs should have no missing numbers constitutes a second
    security feature, in addition to the "VOID" pantograph (Tr.
    152, 163, 242).  The sequential numbers are placed on the
    SPFs during the production process-the numbering machine is
    on the press and a separate stamping operation prints the
    numbers on the forms as they are passing through (Tr. 27, 52,
    61; App. Ex. No. 3).  These security features-the sequential
    number and the "VOID" pantograph- were required because the
    SPFs are used by VA physicians and others to dispense drugs
    (Tr. 152, 163).
    7 GPO's Quality Assurance Through Attributes Program, GPO
    Publication 310.1, as revised in November 1989 (QATAP), was
    incorporated in the contract by reference (R4 File, Tab A, p.
    1).
    8 Standard Register has held the patent for the "VOID" since
    1979 (Tr. 243).
    9 The other GFM items, offset film negatives and a
    reproduction proof, were supplied as specified in the
    contract (Tr. 14, 56).
    10 In this regard, the Appellant was following the GFM
    dispute resolution procedures established in the "Government
    Furnished Property (GFP)" clause of GPO Contract Terms.  See,
    GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses,  7 (Government
    Furnished Property (GFP)).  As explained by Richard Cripps,
    the Appellant's President, at the hearing, since the
    Appellant is in business to print the product which the
    customer wants, when it is confronted by two (2) different
    sets of guidelines to go by, namely, a specification and a
    sample, as here, it must clarify which one controls; i.e.,
    does the customer want something that looks like the sample,
    or a product which is in accordance with the specifications
    (Tr. 136).
    11 At the hearing, Cripps testified that he did not consider
    the copy of the specimen check to be the security background
    "sample" required by the contract (Tr. 147-48; App. Exh. No.
    1).  Instead, he thought that it was an "example", not a
    "sample"; a "sample" would have been an exact replica of the
    SPF the Appellant was expected to produce (Tr. 146, 147).
    12 As explained by Gallagher at the hearing, notwithstanding
    the absence of a proofing requirement in the specifications,
    the Contractor deemed it advisable to offer the Respondent
    one anyway, in accordance with standard industry practice,
    because this was a half a million dollar contract (Tr. 23-24,
    43).
    13 At the hearing, Leonard testified that there was nothing
    unusual about GPO's refusal to evaluate the Contractor's
    proof, because the Government normally will not accept proofs
    when the contract does not require them (Tr. 274, 314).  In
    this case, the VA did not ask for proofs, and GPO did not add
    a proofing requirement to the specification because not only
    would it add a cost to the contract, but it would also have
    shifted the burden of responsibility for the quality of the
    product to the Government (Tr. 274-75, 314).  Furthermore,
    the Appellant's proofs were unnecessary because the
    Respondent had already furnished the negatives to the
    Contractor (Tr. 314).  GPO's decision not to evaluate the
    Appellant's prior-to-production proofs was consistent with
    the agency's policy regarding unsolicited samples.  See,
    Printing Procurement Regulation, GPO Publication 305.3 (Rev.
    10-90), Chap. XII, Sec. 4,  3 (hereinafter PPR).  See also,
    Hurt's Printing Company, Inc., GPO BCA 27-92 (January 21,
    1994), Sl. op. at 23-28, 1994 WL 275098.  On the other hand,
    the fact that proofs are not required does not alter a
    contractor's obligation to perform in accordance with the
    contract terms.  See, Fry Communications, Inc./InfoConversion
    Joint Venture, GPO BCA 7-84 (July 9, 1986), Sl. op. at 12-13,
    1986 WL 181458.
    14 According to the Leonard's testimony at the hearing, the
    standard for measuring the job was the specification (Tr.
    266-67).  Insofar as the "VOID" pantograph is concerned, the
    only performance test for the pantograph is a simple one-
    photocopying either produces three legible and readable
    "VOIDs" or it doesn't (Tr. 267-68).
    15 On the other hand, the Appellant does not believe that the
    only successful "VOID" pantograph would be one which copied
    on all photocopiers, because, in Cripps' view, such
    performance is simply not possible (Tr. 229-30).  According
    to Cripps' testimony, there are many different "VOID" dropout
    patterns commercially available, and not all of them will
    copy on all copy machines; indeed, they may not even copy on
    most copiers (Tr. 241, 252-53).  In fact, Cripps said he
    conducted an experiment with various "VOID" pantograph
    products and could defeat the security feature by moving the
    image down to the lightest setting on the copier (Tr. 243).
    16 As required by GPO Contract Terms: "Contractors must have
    a quality control system that will assure product quality
    acceptable to the Government."  GPO Contract Terms,
    Supplemental Specifications,  1.(c) (Quality); Contract
    Clauses,  14 (Inspection and Tests).  Cripps testified that
    the Appellant photocopied samples of the form on several
    machines with varying degrees of success, but it would always
    copy; i.e, the word "VOID" would appear on all manipulations
    of the photocopier, including the darker and lighter
    settings, although on the darker settings the background
    tended to be mottled (Tr. 157).
    17 Although the contract called for the Appellant to make the
    initial shipment by July 27, 1992, the record reveals that
    only 71,680 pads were received by the VA on that date (R4
    File, Tab G).  The balance-28,320 pads-was delayed because
    the Contractor's numbering machine had malfunctioned, and the
    error was not discovered until the pads had been packed for
    shipment (Tr. 9; R4 File, Tab F; App. Exh. No. 4).
    Consequently, those pads of SPFs had to be renumbered and
    repacked, and were not delivered to the VA until August 4,
    1992 (R4 File, Tabs F and G; App. Exh. No. 4).  Furthermore,
    it seems that the customer-agency wanted the SPFs shipped by
    a special type of delivery service called "signature
    service," but that requirement was inadvertently omitted from
    the original specifications (R4 File, Tab G; App. Exh. No.
    4).  Both of these problems were cured by Contract
    Modification No. 1, dated August 4, 1992, which extended the
    date for shipping the balance of the first lot of SPFs to
    August 4, 1992, and amended the contract to provide that the
    rest of the job, including the balance of the first shipment,
    should be sent by "signature service" (R4 File, Tab G).
    18 Among other things, the VA also voiced its concern about
    the solid or screen tints color match (Printing Attribute No.
    9), the use of darker blue ink; and the prescription numbers
    being printed in [the] wrong area (Tr. 261; R4 File, Tab H).
    In addition, the customer-agency made several minor
    complaints regarding the way the Appellant packaged the SPFs
    for delivery-e.g., cartons not sequential, carton numbers
    mixed on pallets, pallets not numbered, pallets not wrapped
    securely, etc.-but these were never seriously considered by
    GPO even though they might have been grounds for returning
    the shipment to the Contractor (Tr. 290).
    19 With regard to the other defects, the VA's complaint about
    the ink color match is discussed in note 25 infra.  As for
    the other problems mentioned by the customer-agency, Nowalk
    concluded that they were not enough to support rejection of
    the forms (R4 File, Tab K).  This was confirmed by Leonard
    during his telephone conversation with Gallagher on August
    17, 1992 (Tr. 31, 46; App. Exh. No. 4).  See also, R4 File,
    Tab M.
    20 In the opinion of the Contracting Officer, Hooks properly
    placed the Appellant on notice of the problem with the SPFs,
    but should not have told Gallagher to stop the job, leaving
    that decision to the Contractor (Tr. 306-07).  On the other
    hand, Leonard also testified that if he was the Appellant: ".
    . . I would have pulled the job off the press until the
    problem was straightened out." (Tr. 307).
    21 With respect to the ink, under the specifications the
    Contractor was allowed to pick whatever screen it wanted so
    long  as the ink matched Pantone 287 blue (Tr. 132).  A
    difference in the screens used can account for a color
    variation in the same Pantone ink (Tr. 133; App. Exh. Nos. 6
    and 7).
    22 As became clear during the hearing, there was a major
    design problem with the original printing of the SPFs,
    namely, the Government had made an error with respect to the
    placement of the sequential numbers on the form (Tr. 75-76).
    Leonard testified that the VA never specifically said
    anything to him about the erroneous location of the numbers,
    and he only became aware of the problem later (Tr. 263, 299).
    But see, R4 File, Tab H ("Numbers printed in wrong area").
    Regardless, Leonard asserted that the numbering problem had
    nothing to do with rejection of the job (Tr. 299).  However,
    the parties did stipulate that: (a) the Contractor had placed
    the numbers in the proper place on the original SPFs and the
    printed forms conformed to the specifications in that
    respect; (b) because the number was not where the VA wanted
    it on the original SPFs, the forms were not usable even if
    the "VOID" pantograph had copied correctly; and (c)
    nonetheless, if there had been no other problems-i.e., if the
    "VOID" dropout pattern had reproduced by electrostatic means,
    as required by the specifications-the Government would have
    accepted and paid for the forms (Tr. 63, 75, 79-80, 304-05).
    23 The letter was signed by another Contracting Officer, John
    Adams (Tr. 277).
    24 The drawing and the sample were sent to the Appellant both
    by facsimile transmission and overnight mail.  In that
    regard, the record testimony discloses that App. Exh. No. 6,
    the sample of the prior SPF job, is probably the one which
    the Contractor had been told did not exist (Tr. 37, 39, 137).
    25 At the outset of the hearing, the parties were at odds
    over whether the Appellant had used the proper ink color for
    the original printing of the SPFs.  Like the previous
    contract performed by Standard Register, the Appellant's
    contract required "a match of Pantone 287 blue ink" (R4 File,
    Tab A, p. 2; App. Exh. No. 2, p. 2).  Cripps testified that
    the Standard Register forms actually used a darker color ink,
    which was preferable because it allowed for better copying of
    the "VOID" pantograph (Tr. 134-35, 137, 139; App. Exh. Nos. 6
    and 7).  Cripps also stated that if the GFM had included a
    proper sample of the job, he would have questioned the ink
    color and sought a clarification from GPO (Tr. 135; App. Exh.
    No. 6).  On the other hand, Leonard testified that his
    examination of the rejected SPFs clearly showed a color
    fluctuation in the product which inhibited proper copying of
    the forms (Tr. 286-88).  As he saw it, while none of the
    forms met the specifications with respect to reproductive
    quality, the lighter colored SPFs copied better than the
    darker ones (Tr. 288).  Leonard also testified that although
    the VA had complained to GPO about the ink color match on the
    original SPFs, Nowalk never bothered to test the quality of
    that printing attribute or make a determination concerning
    the color, inspecting the forms instead only for the failure
    of the "VOID" pantograph to copy as required, the most
    obvious defect (Tr. 289-90, 293-94; R4 File, Tabs H and K).
    Even so, notwithstanding what he saw as an obvious color
    difference in the samples of the rejected forms, Leonard was
    unable to say conclusively that the variation in the ink
    itself was the reason for the "VOID" pantograph not copying
    (Tr. 290. 291).  In addition, although Nowalk did not
    testify, Gallagher's notes of his conversation with Nowalk on
    August 27, 1992, contains the following entry: "I told him
    (Nowalk) . . . that J. Leonard had indicated that even the
    ink color was wrong - John (Nowalk) said the ink color was OK
    and disputed that J. Leonard had told me it was wrong."  See,
    App. Exh. No. 4.  Finally, at the close of the hearing, the
    parties stipulated that the ink color of the original
    printing was close enough to Pantone 287 blue that the forms
    would not have been rejected because of failure to meet the
    color specifications for the job (Tr. 328).
    26 Leonard testified that a simple press-sheet inspection was
    within the prerogative of the VA, but only GPO had the
    authority to make changes to the contract (Tr. 311).  See,
    GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses,  1 (Contractual
    Responsibility).  He also said that generally if a customer-
    agency approves the press-sheet at such an inspection, GPO
    does not hear about it (Tr. 312).
    27 Cripps concluded that Lee's sample forms were not produced
    by the Contractor because, inter alia: (a) the ink color was
    darker than Pantone 287; and (b) they did not have a red
    sequential number on them, as did all of the SPFs shipped by
    the Appellant (Tr. 98).
    28 The parties stipulated that it is unknown whether or not
    these SPFs were either accepted or rejected by the Government
    (Tr. 193).
    29 These were the pads that were printed and ready for
    delivery when the Appellant was ordered to stop shipping the
    forms (Tr. 198).
    30 The specification called for the number to be 1-3/4" from
    the "top edge" of the form (R4 File, Tab A, p. 2, "Numbering"
    specification).  According to the Appellant, the VA's problem
    with the number placement stemmed from the fact that the
    location measurement was from the top and not the bottom of
    the form, which would have been consistent with printing
    industry practice (R4 File, Tab W, p. 3).  Consequently, for
    the number to be exactly where the VA wanted it, namely, at
    the top of the number box, the measurements in the
    specification should have required the top and bottom of the
    number to be approximately 1-1/8 and 1-3/8 inches,
    respectively (R4 File, Tab W, p. 3).
    31 See also, note 22 supra.
    32 At the hearing, Leonard testified that unless a customer-
    agency complains, GPO assumes the product has met the
    specifications (Tr. 295).  Thus, the samples of the original
    shipment of SPFs were only tested after the VA complained
    (Tr. 296-97, 298).  Since the VA did not complain to the
    Respondent about the reprint, GPO presumed that those forms
    were satisfactory to the customer-agency.
    33 As agreed by the parties, the Appellant was to begin
    delivery of the reprint order with 12.24 million forms being
    shipped on or before September 11, 1992 (R4 File, Tab O).
    Apparently, because of the press-sheet inspection, and the
    fact that Lee had to agree to the numbering system, the first
    shipment was not made until September 18, 1992 (R4 File, Tab
    U).  For the same reason, the shipping schedule for the
    remaining four installments of the reprinted order was
    revised, as reflected in Contract Modification No. 2, issued
    by GPO on September 24, 1992 (R4 File, Tab R).  Under the
    adjusted schedule, the Contractor was to deliver the rest of
    the reprinted SPFs as follows: (a) three separate shipments
    of 12.24 million forms (122,400 pads) each on October 1,
    1992, October 8, 1992, and October 13, 1992, respectively;
    and (b) a final shipment of 11.04 million forms (110,400
    pads) on October 16, 1992 (R4 File, Tabs R and U).
    34 The R4 File contains copies of the form reproduced on
    three different photocopiers-a Kodak 90E, a Kodak Ektaprint
    300, and an unidentified copier (R4 File, Tab V).  The Kodak
    90E copy shows the "VOID" pantograph clearly, while the
    copies from both the Kodak Ektaprint 300 and the unidentified
    copy machine are extremely light, although visible to the
    naked eye.  There is nothing in the record to indicate if the
    unmarked copy was produced on the copy machine in Leonard's
    office, which he testified was a three or four-year old Canon
    photocopier (Tr. 262).  Furthermore, the Board cannot tell if
    these copies were made from the original forms, or are copies
    of the reprinted SPFs which were tested at the meeting on
    September 11, 1992, and found satisfactory (R4 File, Tab X).
    35 The 19,600,000 forms originally printed by the Appellant
    represents about 32.7 percent of the entire order of
    60,000,000 SPFs.  Thus, at the contract price of $533,000.00,
    the Contractor is claiming reimbursement from the Government
    of $174,291.00.  Of this amount, $89,011.00 would be the
    price of the initial shipment of 10,000,000 forms, which was
    16.7 percent of the entire order.
    36 The Contracting Officer took issue with the Appellant's
    contention that the Government had rejected all 19,600,000
    forms, stating instead that only 100,000 pads (10,000,000
    forms) were covered by his letter of August 27, 1992 (R4
    File, Tab X, p. 1).  Furthermore, Leonard disagreed with the
    Contractor's understanding that the parties would test random
    samples from the 96,000 pads which were still at the plant,
    stating his belief that only forms which were delivered to
    the VA would be evaluated (R4 File, Tab X, p. 1).  However,
    during the hearing, the Contracting Officer had a change of
    heart, and offered to examine the forms on the Appellant's
    premises.  See, note 81 infra.
    37 For obvious reasons, the Appellant's samples were drawn
    from the unshipped forms in its plant, while the Respondent's
    samples were taken from the rejected shipment itself (Tr.
    111, 114, 212, 279-80).
    38 Five of the Appellant's exhibits-App. Exh. Nos. 7, 9, 19,
    20, and 21-are not relevant to these proceedings, and have
    not been considered by the Board.  App. Exh. No. 7 is a copy
    of the sample form which Lee brought to the press-sheet
    inspection and which was originally printed by another
    contractor, while App. Exh. No. 19 is a copy of that form
    reproduced on the Board's Monroe photocopier (Tr. 94-96, 116,
    190-92, 203).  Apart from the fact that during the hearing
    both the Appellant and the Respondent discovered that the
    Board's copy machine is a poor one by anyone's standard (Tr.
    124, 325), the simple truth is that App. Exh. Nos. 7 and 19
    were not generated from copies of the SPFs rejected by the
    Respondent.  Similarly, App. Exh. Nos. 9, 20 and 21 are
    copies of the press-sheet of the reprint approved by Lee
    (App. Exh. No. 8), made on different photocopiers at various
    locations in Emporia, and offices in GPO (Tr. 109, 118, 121,
    196-97, 204, 253, 325-26).  As the hearing testimony
    revealed, the approved press-sheet furnished the quality
    control standard for the reprinted SPFs (Tr. 218, 252, 313,
    324), and thus, by definition, App. Exh. Nos. 9, 20 and 21
    are unrelated to the issue in this case which deals with the
    rejected forms.  For the same reason, the Board has not
    considered the copies of the approved press-sheet on App.
    Exh. Nos. 12, 13, 15 16 and 18, although it has examined
    copies of the rejected SPFs on those same exhibits.  It
    should be noted that during the hearing both parties
    unsuccessfully attempted to reproduce the "VOID" pantograph
    from the approved press-sheet on photocopy machines in GPO
    (Tr. 325-26; App. Exh. No. 21).  Indeed, the Respondent
    stipulated that App. Exh. No. 8-the standard for the reprint-
    would have been rejected by the Government if it had been
    subjected to the same quality control tests as the original
    printing of the SPFs (Tr. 326-27).  In fact, the Contracting
    Officer could find no better reason than "incompetence" to
    explain why the VA accepted a reprint which was clearly
    rejectable according to his tests (Tr. 327).  Regardless, for
    the reasons already stated, the Board believes that App. Exh.
    No. 21, is irrelevant to this appeal.
    39 Cripps testified on cross-examination that although most
    copies of the SPFs were made on normal photocopier settings,
    a few were reproduced on lighter machine settings (Tr.
    200-01).  However, Appellant's Counsel stated that he had
    removed the manipulated copies and used only the ones from
    normal settings for exhibits (Tr. 202).
    40 Although the location of the photocopier used to create
    App. Exh. No. 17 is not identified on the exhibit, the
    hearing record would seem to indicate that it, like App. Exh.
    No. 18, is a product of the Appellant's copy machine (Tr.
    123).
    41 During the hearing, the question arose as to the cause of
    the intensity variation in the "VOID" pantograph on the
    copies of the SPFs in App. Exh. Nos. 10-18 (Tr. 123).  The
    Appellant believed that the variation was the result of
    differences in the photocopiers themselves (Tr. 124).  The
    Respondent, on the other hand, thought that an obvious
    variation in the color density of the ink used during the
    production process caused the different intensities in the
    copies of the Contractor's forms; i.e., the lighter the color
    the better the reproduction (Tr. 286-88).  Since the
    Appellant made just one copy of each SPF in the above
    exhibits, and the lack of uniformity in the color of the
    originals is, as Counsel for GPO suggests, clearly visible to
    the naked eye (Tr. 328), the Board tends to agree with the
    explanation offered by the Respondent.  Regardless of the
    reasons for the intensity variation in the "VOID" pantograph
    on App. Exh. Nos. 10-18, the fact remains that the word
    "VOID" reproduces in three places on the form, and moreover,
    the parties stipulated that the color of the blue ink used in
    the original printing of the SPFs was a close enough match to
    Pantone 287 that the forms would not have been rejected for a
    failure to meet the color requirements of the specifications
    (Tr. 328).
    42 From its review of R. Exh. No. 1, the Board's curiosity
    was piqued by the fact that for some reason a particular SPF
    sample would copy differently on different photocopiers.  For
    example, on SPF No. 93216556 the "VOID" pantograph appeared
    clearly as specified on the Savin 7500, but only the
    horizontal word "VOID" reproduced on the Konica 3290 and
    Kodak Ektaprint 150, while just the horizontal word "VOID"
    and a few letters of the vertical word were visible on the
    Savin 7230, and nothing at all reproduced on the Canon
    NP-8580.  However, it is not necessary to solve this puzzle
    in the context of this decision since the main issue in this
    appeal concerns the contract specifications themselves.  See,
    Report of Prehearing Telephone Conference, dated September
    23, 1993, pp. 6-7 (hereinafter RPTC).
    43 The Board settled the record in this case on April 6,
    1994.  See, Professional Printing of Kansas, Inc., GPO BCA
    02-93, Order Settling the Record, dated April 6, 1994.  After
    the record was settled, the Appellant wrote to the Board and
    informed it of two changes which the Respondent made in the
    follow-on contract for the SPFs (Jacket No. 364-170), namely:
    (a) the "VOID" pantograph feature was eliminated and a
    different security device was specified; and (b) the
    Government now requires production samples as part of the
    terms of the contract.  See, Letter from Rick Cripps,
    President, Professional Printing of Kansas, Inc. to the
    Board, dated November 30, 1994.  The obvious purpose of the
    Contractor's letter was to support its contention that the
    "PRINTING" specification in its contract was defective, and
    that by changing the specifications the Government, in
    effect, had admitted as much.  However, the settled rule is
    that, absent unusual circumstances, evidence proffered for
    admission after the record has been settled will not be
    accepted.  See, Sterling Printing, Inc., GPO BCA 20-89,
    Decision on Motion for Reconsideration and Order (July 5,
    1994), Sl. op. at 12 , 1994 WL 377592 (citing, Goetz
    Demolition Company, ASBCA Nos. 40605, 41346, 93-2 BCA 
    25,886; Pascal Redfern, PSBCA No. 1512, 87-3 BCA  19,1983;
    Polarad Electronics Corporation, ASBCA No. 20636, 79-1 BCA 
    13,777; Canadian Commercial Corporation, ASBCA No. 17187,
    76-2 BCA  12,145.  See also, Marshall Logging, Inc., ASBCA
    No. 87-283-1, 88-2 BCA  20,726; Jim Davis, AGBCA Nos.
    86-103-1, 86-104-1, 86-1 BCA  18,634).  This principle is
    specifically incorporated in the Board's procedural rules.
    See, Board Rules, Rule 13(b) ("Except as the Board may
    otherwise order in its discretion, no proof shall be received
    in evidence after completion of an oral hearing, nor in cases
    submitted on the record will proof be received after
    notification by the Board that the case is ready for
    decision.").  Accord, Sunshine Cordage Corporation, ASBCA No.
    38904, 90-1 BCA  22,572; USD Technologies, Inc., ASBCA No.
    31305, 87-2 BCA  19,680 at 99,616, aff'd, 845 F.2d 1033
    (Fed. Cir. 1988).  As the Board has noted: "This well-
    established rule is really nothing more than a judicial
    proscription against a party having `two bites at the
    apple.'"  See, Sterling Printing, Inc., supra, Decision on
    Motion for Reconsideration and Order, Sl. op. at 13 (citing,
    Goetz Demolition Company, supra, 93-2 BCA at 128,768).
    Accordingly, the Appellant's letter of November 30, 1994, has
    not been considered in deciding this appeal.
    44 Both parties waived oral argument at the hearing (Tr.
    336-37).  However, as mentioned at the outset, each party
    filed a posthearing brief with the Board.  The Appellant's
    brief was filed with the Board on December 9, 1993.   The
    Respondent  submitted a brief to the Board on January 5,
    1994.  Neither party filed a reply brief.  Accordingly, the
    Board's understanding of the positions of the parties is
    based on: (a) the Appellant's Complaint, dated February 16,
    1993; (b) the Respondent's Answer, dated March 16, 1993; (c)
    the Report of Prehearing Telephone Conference, dated
    September 21, 1993; (d) the evidence presented at the hearing
    on October 13 and 14, 1993; and (e) the formal briefs filed
    by the parties.
    45 With respect to its allegation that the "PRINTING"
    specification is ambiguous, the Appellant's argues that the
    ambiguity is latent, not patent, and the doctrine of contra
    proferentum should be applied against the Government in this
    case.  See, App. Brf., pp. 22-24 (citing, Newsom v. United
    States, 230 Ct. Cl. 301, 303, 676 F.2d 647, 650-51 (1982);
    Chris Berg, Inc. v. United States, 455 F.2d 1037, 1045
    (Ct.Cl. 1972); Max Drill, Inc. v. United States, 192 Ct. Cl.
    608, 626, 427 F.2d 1233, 1244 (1970); City Electric
    Anchorage, Inc., ASBCA Nos. 6570, 6675, 6856, 62 BCA  3,435;
    Brezina Construction Company, Inc., ASBCA No. 5750, 60-1 BCA
     2,611).  As for the "Government error" issue, the
    Contractor simply states that the "NUMBERING" specification
    was design in nature, and under prevailing law it was
    entitled to rely on it in printing the forms, so it cannot be
    held accountable for the fact that the rejected forms would
    have been worthless to the VA.  See, App. Brf., p. 28.
    46 For the "superior knowledge" doctrine to apply all of the
    following conditions must be present: (a) the Government has
    information which it knows or should know is required for the
    contractor's performance; (b) the Government does not
    disclose that essential information; (c) the Government knows
    or should know that the contractor lacks the information or
    knowledge and either has no reason to obtain it or is
    unlikely to do so; (d) the contract misleads the contractor,
    or fails to give notice that it is necessary to ask the
    Government about its specialized knowledge; and (e) the
    contractor's lack of knowledge or possession of the
    information causes increased costs or prevents performance of
    the contract.  App. Brf., at p. 11 (citing, American Ship
    Building Company v. United States, 654 F.2d 75, 79 (Ct.Cl.
    1981); ECOS Management Criteria, Inc., VABCA No. 2058, 86-2
    BCA  18,885, at 78,579).
    47 Petrofsky v. United States, 616 F.2d 494 (Ct.Cl. 1980),
    cert. denied, 450 U.S. 968 (1981).
    48 The Appellant tells us that estoppel arises when the
    following four conditions are met: (a) the Government knows
    or has reason to know the material facts; (b) the Government
    either intends that its conduct or statements be acted upon
    or acts in such a manner as to give the contractor that
    impression; (c) the contractor must not have knowledge of the
    material fact known by the Government; and (d) the contractor
    detrimentally relies on the Government's conduct or
    statements.  App. Brf., p. 16 (citing, Heckler v. Community
    Health Services of Crawford County, 467 U.S. 51 (1984); OAO
    Corporation v. United States, 17 Cl. Ct. 91, 104 (1989);
    Granite Construction Company, ENG BCA No. 4642, 89-3 BCA 
    21,946, at 110,395 (1989)).  Whether or not these equitable
    estoppel elements have been satisfied is a question of fact.
    Id. (citing, Tidewater Equipment Company v. Reliance
    Insurance Company, 650 F.2d 503, 506 (4th Cir. 1981)).
    49 The thrust of the Appellant's argument is that the process
    of correcting the proof would have provided the vehicle for
    informing the Contractor that it could have used an alternate
    ink and that the prescription number had been relocated on
    the form.  App. Brf., p. 18.
    50 The Appellant also observes that even if the four
    conditions supporting an estoppel are established, equitable
    relief cannot be granted unless it is also shown that the
    Government employee(s) who made the misrepresentations or
    concealed the material facts possessed the actual authority
    to deal with the contractor.  App. Brf., p. 19 (citing,
    Federal Crop Insurance Corporation v. Merrill, 332 U.S. 380
    (1947); Manloading and Management Associates, Inc. v. United
    States, 461 F.2d 1299 (Ct.Cl. 1972)).  The Contractor points
    out that here it dealt with two GPO Contracting Officers,
    Adams and Leonard, who are authorized by the PPR and GPO
    Contract Terms to make all determinations and decisions with
    regard to the contract.  See, PPR, Chap. I, Sec. 3,  2(d);
    GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses,  1 (Contractual
    Responsibility).  Furthermore, Hooks, the Contract
    Administrator for this contract, served as a conduit between
    the Appellant and the Contracting Officers from time-to-time.
    However, the authority of the Government's agents in this
    case has never been seriously questioned by any one.
    51 As noted by the Appellant, the law makes a distinction
    between "design specifications" and "performance
    specifications".  App. Brf., pp. 24-25 (citing, Johns
    Manville Corporation v. United States, 13 Cl. Ct. 72, 119
    (1987); Aerodex, Inc., ASBCA No. 7121, 62 BCA  3492).
    "Performance specifications" are specifications which do not
    detail the materials and methods to be employed, but rather
    "set forth an objective or standard to be achieved" by the
    contractor, who assumes the responsibility for selecting the
    means to accomplish that objective or standard.  App. Brf.,
    p. 25 (citing, J.L. Simmons Company Inc. v. United States,
    supra, 412 F.2d at 1363.  Basically, as the Contractor points
    out, under a pure performance contract, a contractor has
    "complete discretion to determine how it would perform that
    work."  App. Brf., p. 25 (citing, R.J. Crowley, Inc. v.
    United States, 923 F.2d 871, 874 (Fed. Cir. 1990) (quoting,
    Stuyvesant Dredging Company v. United States, 834 F.2d 1576,
    1582 (Fed. Cir. 1987)).
    52 Whether or not the contract is primarily design or
    performance can be determined by looking at both the original
    contract, the relationship of the parties, and the duties
    undertaken by each.  App. Brf., p. 26 (citing, Mac Company v.
    United States, 467 F.2d 1323, 1325 (Ct.Cl. 1972)).
    53 In addition, the Appellant argues that these same facts
    also allow it to avoid liability for the allegedly defective
    product by means of the so-called "impossibility of
    performance" doctrine.  App. Brf., p. 29 (citing,
    Dynaelectron Corporation v. United States, 518 F.2d 594, 602
    (Ct.Cl. 1975); Hol-Gar Manufacturing Corporation v. United
    States, supra).
    54 Indeed, the Appellant's arguments to the contrary
    notwithstanding, the Respondent contends that the record
    evidence seems to suggest that a lighter color ink, rather
    than a darker one, reproduces better.  R. Brf., pp. 11-12.
    To GPO, the Contractor's problems with regard to copying the
    forms stemmed from its own printing process which resulted in
    a visible color variation between pads.  R. Brf., p. 12.
    55 The record on which the Board's decision is based consists
    of: (1) the Notice of Appeal, dated January 11, 1993; (2) the
    R4 File (Tabs A-X); (3) the Complaint, dated February 16,
    1993; (4) the Respondent's Answer, dated March 16, 1993; (5)
    the Report of Prehearing Telephone Conference, dated
    September 21, 1993; (6) the transcript of the hearing held on
    October 13-14, 1993; (7) the exhibits submitted by the
    parties' at the hearing with the exception of App. Exh. Nos.
    7, 9, 19, 20, and 21; (8) the brief filed by the Appellant on
    December 9, 1993; and (9) the brief submitted by the
    Respondent on January 5, 1994.
    56 See, note 22 supra.
    57 As a rule, a party is bound by its stipulations, see,
    Morelock v. NCR Corporation, 586 F.2d 1096, 1107 (6th Cir.
    1978), cert. denied, 441 U.S. 906, 99 S.Ct. 1995 (1979), and
    such evidentiary agreements freely entered into are
    controlling and conclusive on all issues of fact, see,
    Bromley Contracting Company, Inc. v. United States, 14 Cl.
    Ct. 69, 74 (1987), aff'd, 861 F.2d 729 (Fed. Cir. 1988)
    (citing, Gersham & Company v. United States, 200 Ct. Cl. 97,
    112, 470 F.2d 542, 551 (1972)).  A court or board may reject
    a factual stipulation if it is "demonstrably false" or
    contrary to the facts in the record.  See, Dillon, Read &
    Company, Inc. v. United States, 875 F.2d 293 (Fed. Cir.
    1989); Bromley Contracting Company, Inc. v. United States,
    supra, 14 Cl. Ct. at 74 (citing, Kaminer Construction
    Corporation v. United States, 203 Ct. Cl. 182, 197, 488 F.2d
    980, 988 (1973)).  On the other hand, stipulations
    representing conclusions of law are not binding on the boards
    or courts.  See, Bromley Contracting Company, Inc. v. United
    States, supra, 14 Cl. Ct. at 74 (citing, Swift & Company v.
    Hocking Valley Railroad, 243 U.S. 281, 289, 37 S.Ct, 287,
    289-90, 61 L.Ed. 722 (1917)); Hegeman-Harris & Company v.
    United States, 194 Ct. Cl. 574, 581, 440 F.2d 1009, 1012
    (1971); Sac and Fox Tribe of Indians v. United States, 161
    Ct. Cl. 189, 198, 315 F.2d 896, 901, cert. denied, 375 U.S.
    921, 84 S.Ct. 266, 11 L.Ed.2d 165 (1963)); Reynolds
    Construction, Inc., ASBCA No. 32047, 89-3 BCA  22,126.
    58 In any event, the Appellant's contention is tantamount to
    an allegation that the Government was acting in bad faith.
    The Board has held on many occasions that because of the
    strong presumption that Government officials properly and
    honestly carry out their functions, an allegation of bad
    faith must be established by "well-nigh irrefragable" proof.
    See, e.g., Universal Printing Company, GPO BCA 09-90 (June
    22, 1994), Sl. op. at 24, fn. 24, 1994 WL 377586; Sterling
    Printing, Inc., GPO BCA 20-89 (March 28, 1994), Sl. op. at
    34-35, fn. 46, 1994 WL 275104; B. P. Printing and Office
    Supplies, GPO BCA 14-91 (August 10, 1992), Sl. op. at 16,
    1992 WL 382917; The Standard Register Company, GPO BCA 4-86
    (October 28, 1987), Sl. op. at 12-13, 1987 WL 228972.
    Accord, Karpak Data and Design, IBCA No. 2944 et al., 93-1
    BCA  25,360; Local Contractors, Inc., ASBCA No. 37108, 92-1
    BCA  24,491.  The key to such evidence is that there must be
    a showing of a specific intent on the part of the Government
    to injure the contractor.  Kalvar Corporation v. United
    States, 543 F.2d 1298, 1302 (Ct.Cl. 1976), cert. denied, 434
    U.S. 830 (1977).  See, Stephenson, Inc., GPO BCA 2-88
    (December 20, 1991) Sl. op. at 54, 1991 WL 439274.  In the
    Board's view, no such "irrefragable" proof of bad faith
    exists in this record.  Certainly, there is absolutely
    nothing to show that the employees of two separate Government
    entities-GPO and the VA-set out to harm the Appellant or that
    they acted in concert to achieve that specific result.  See,
    e.g., Universal Printing Company, supra, Sl. op. at 24, fn
    24; Sterling Printing, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 23, fn. 35;
    Stephenson, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 57.
    59 In French/Bray, Inc., the Board found "as a matter of
    contract interpretation, and thus of law," inter alia, that
    "the determination of whether or not such burden has been met
    lies solely with the [GPO], provided that the [GPO] does not
    render its determination arbitrarily or capriciously but
    rather does so objectively by adhering to the testing and
    sampling standards of QATAP. . . . Thus, if the [GPO] shows
    that it has adhered to the contractual standards for testing,
    inspection, and determination of product quality, its
    determination must be upheld. [Original emphasis.]"  See,
    French/Bray, Inc., GPO BCA 18-85 (October 23, 1986), Sl. op.
    at 17, 1986 WL 181454.  See also, Mid-American Business Forms
    Corporation, GPO BCA 8-87 (December 30, 1988), 1988 WL
    363330; Geographics, Inc., GPO BCA 8-85 (January 8, 1987),
    1987 WL 228966; Product of Information Systems, GPO BCA 7-85
    (November 25, 1986), 1986 WL 216057; The Standard Register
    Company, supra.
    60 Contrary to the Respondent, the Board does not believe
    that the Contractor has abandoned its argument that the
    contract is ambiguous.  See, R. Brf., pp. 5, 8.  Instead, the
    Board sees Counsel for the Appellant merely doing in his
    brief what most good advocates do in pursuing a claim-raising
    as many possible alternative theories for relief as the facts
    may support.  FED. R. CIV. P. 10(b).
    61 Such contrary interpretations often happen when parties
    become locked in litigation; i.e., extreme positions are
    taken which no party really believes as a practical matter.
    In that regard, the evidence clearly shows conduct by both
    parties which tends to contradict their position on the
    record.  On the one hand, the record tells us that the
    Appellant believed it would be necessary for the form to copy
    on more than one photocopy machine to satisfy the Government
    (Tr. 164, 229-30).  On the other, the evidence shows the
    Respondent was not looking for perfection; i.e, GPO tested
    samples of the SPFs on several different photocopiers before
    it concluded that the forms were unsatisfactory (Tr. 261-62,
    266).
    62 Contract interpretation is clearly a question of law.
    See, Fry Communications, Inc.-InfoConversion Joint Venture v.
    United States, 22 Cl. Ct. 497, 503 (Cl.Ct. 1991); General
    Business Forms, Inc., GPO BCA 2-84 (December 3, 1985), Sl.
    op. at 16, 1985 WL 154846 (citing, John C. Grimberg Company
    v. United States, 7 Ct. Cl. 452 (1985)); RD Printing
    Associates, Inc., GPO BCA 02-92 (December 16, 1992), Sl. op.
    at 13, 1992 WL 516088.  See also, Fortec Contractors v.
    United States, 760 F.2d 1288, 1291 (Fed.Cir. 1985); P.J.
    Maffei Building Wrecking Company v. United States, 732 F.2d
    913, 916 (Fed. Cir. 1984); Pacificorp Capital, Inc. v. United
    States, 25 Cl. Ct. 707, 715 (1992), aff'd 988 F.2d 130 (Fed.
    Cir. 1993); Ralph Construction, Inc. v. United States, 4 Cl.
    Ct. 727, 731 (1984) (citing, Torncello v. United States, 681
    F.2d 756, 760 (Ct.Cl. 1982)); Hol-Gar Manufacturing Corp. v.
    United States, 169 Ct. Cl. 384, 386, 351 F.2d 972, 973
    (1965).  Any decision by this Board concerning such a matter
    is reviewable by the Courts under the Wunderlich Act, 41
    U.S.C.  321, 322.  See, Fry Communications, Inc./
    InfoConversion Joint Venture v. United States, supra, 22
    Cl.Ct. at 501, fn. 6; General Business Forms, Inc., supra,
    Sl. op. at 16.
    63 The United States Claims Court has observed that: "[a]
    mere dispute over the terms does not constitute an ambiguity,
    and an interpretation which is merely possible is not
    necessarily reasonable."  Ceccanti, Inc. v. United States, 6
    Cl. Ct. 526, 528 (1984).  An ambiguity must have two or more
    reasonable interpretations and the intent of the parties must
    not be determinable by the normal rules of interpretation.
    McDonald & Eudy Printers, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 14, fn. 12;
    R.C. Swanson Printing and Typesetting Company, supra, Sl. op.
    at 42.  See also, International Business Investments, Inc. v.
    United States, 17 Cl. Ct. 122 (1989), aff'd, 895 F.2d 1421
    (Fed. Cir. 1990) (contract terms are not rendered ambiguous
    by the mere fact that the parties disagree as to their
    meaning; there must be reasonable uncertainty of meaning);
    Perry & Wallis, Inc. v. United States, 192 Ct. Cl. 310, 315,
    427 F.2d 722, 725 (1970) (quoting, Bishop Engineering Company
    v. United States, 180 Ct. Cl. 411, 416 (1967)).
    64 In such cases, the doctrine of contra proferentem applies
    and the dispute language will be construed against the
    drafter, see, Fry Communications, Inc./InfoConversion Joint
    Venture v. United States, supra, 22 Cl. Ct. at 503 (citing,
    William F. Klingensmith, Inc. v. United States, 205 Ct. Cl.
    651, 657 (1974)); Web Business Forms, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at
    18, fn. 18; R.C. Swanson Printing and Typesetting Company,
    supra, Sl. op. at 41, fn. 22, if the non-drafter can show
    that he/she relied on the alternative reasonable
    interpretation in submitting his/her bid, see, Web Business
    Forms, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 19, fn. 18; Fry
    Communications, Inc./ InfoConversion Joint Venture v. United
    States, supra, 22 Cl. Ct. at 510 (citing, Fruin-Colon
    Corporation v. United States, 912 F.2d 1426, 1430 (Fed. Cir.
    1990)); Lear Siegler Management Services v. United States,
    867 F.2d 600, 603 (Fed. Cir. 1989)).
    65 Where there are such discrepancies, errors, or gaps, the
    contractor has an affirmative obligation to ask the
    contracting officer to clarify the true meaning of the
    contract language before submitting its bid.  See, Interstate
    General Government Contractors, Inc. v. Stone, 980 F.2d 1433
    (Fed. Cir. 1992); Fry Communications, Inc./InfoConversion
    Joint Venture v. United States, supra, 22 Cl. Ct. at 504
    (citing, Newsom v. United States, supra, 230 Ct. Cl. at 303;
    Enrico Roman, Inc. v. United States, 2 Cl. Ct. 104, 106
    (1983); S.O.G. of Arkansas v. United States, 212 Ct.Cl. 125,
    546 F.2d 367 (1976); Beacon Construction v. United States,
    314 F.2d 501 (Ct.Cl. 1963)).  See also, Universal
    Construction Company, NASA BCA No. 83-1092, 93-3 BCA 
    26,173; Harwood Construction Company, NASA BCA No. 1165-45,
    68-1 BCA  6768.
    66 The purpose of any rule of contract interpretation is to
    carry out the intent of the parties.  Hegeman-Harris &
    Company, supra, 194 Ct. Cl. 574, 440 F.2d 1009.  The test for
    ascertaining intent is an objective one; i.e., the question
    is what would a reasonable contractor have understood, not
    what did the drafter subjectively intend.  Corbetta
    Construction Company v. United States, 198 Ct. Cl. 712, 461
    F.2d 1330 (1972).  See also, Salem Engineering and
    Construction Corporation v. United States, supra, 2 Cl. Ct.
    at 806.  The provisions of the contract itself should provide
    the evidence of the objective intent of the parties.
    67 It is unnecessary to set forth in detail the rules of
    contract construction which apply when interpreting an
    agreement.  Suffice it to say that, within the contract
    itself, ordinary terms are to be given their plain and
    ordinary meaning in defining the rights and obligations of
    the parties.  See, Elden v. United States, 223 Ct. Cl. 239,
    617 F.2d 254 (1980).  Similarly, technical terms are given
    their technical meaning.  See, Coastal Drydock and Repair
    Corporation, ASBCA No. 31894, 87-1 BCA  19,618; Industrial
    Finishers, Inc., ASBCA No. 6537, 61-1 BCA  3,091.  Likewise,
    terms special to Government contracts will be given their
    technical meanings.  See, General Builders Supply Company v.
    United States, 187 Ct. Cl. 477, 409 F.2d 246 (1969) (meaning
    of "equitable adjustment").  As for extrinsic evidence of the
    intent of the parties, the rules of construction allow, inter
    alia, custom and trade usage to explain or define terms.
    See, W. G. Cornell Company v. United States, 179 Ct. Cl. 651,
    376 F.2d 199 (1967); Harold Bailey Painting Company, ASBCA
    No. 27064, 87-1 BCA  19,601 (used to define "spot
    painting").  However, custom and trade usage may not
    contradict clear or unambiguous terms.  See, WRB Corporation
    v. United States, 183 Ct. Cl. 409, 436 (1968).
    68 There are the contract specifications concerning "QUALITY
    ASSURANCE LEVELS AND STANDARDS" and "QUALITY ASSURANCE RANDOM
    SAMPLES," and, of course, QATAP is incorporated by reference
    (R4 File, Tab A, pp. 1-3).  The Board notes that although the
    "QUALITY ASSURANCE RANDOM SAMPLES" specification told the
    Contractor that it might be required to submit quality
    assurance random copies to test for compliance against the
    specifications, there is no evidence in the record that the
    Government ever asked for such samples.
    69 The Board has also observed that specifications serve the
    purpose of eliciting and defining the essential qualities
    necessary in the procured product, and that the Government
    has a right to get exactly what it asked for in the
    solicitation.  See, Automated Datatron, Inc., GPO BCA Nos.
    25-87 and 26-87 (April 12, 1989), Sl. op. at 3 (citing,
    Nichols & Co. v. United States, 156 Ct. Cl. 358 (1962), cert.
    denied, 371 U.S. 959 (1963); Rohr Industries, Inc., ENG BCA
    No. 4058, 82-1 BCA  15,732).
    70 See, note 41 supra.
    71 The sample was totally different from the rejected SPFs in
    that showed a reverse image for the word "VOID" and used
    block outline letters (Tr. 83, 86).
    72 The rule is that contractual provisions with respect to
    inspection are for the exclusive benefit and protection of
    the Government and not the contractor. See, Hurt's Printing
    Company, Inc., supra, at Sl. op. 26; Custom Printing Company,
    GPO BCA 10-87 (May 10, 1988), Sl. op. at 14, 1988 WL 363328
    (citing, Red Circle Corporation v. United States, 185 Ct. Cl.
    1, 398 F.2d 836 (1968)); Geographics, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at
    10 (citing, Kaminer Construction Company v. United States,
    supra, 203 Ct. Cl. at 182, 488 F.2d at 980.  Furthermore, it
    is also settled that the Government can use a different test
    than the one specified in the contract so long as a more
    stringent standard is not imposed on the contractor, and the
    test used reasonably and accurately demonstrates compliance
    or noncompliance.  See, Circle Construction Group, ASBCA No.
    38844, 90-3 BCA  22,999, at 115,493 (citing, Solar
    Laboratories, Inc., ASBCA No. 19269, 74-2 BCA  10,897, mot.
    for reconsid. den., 75-1 BCA  11,049; Gibbs Shipyard, Inc.,
    ASBCA No. 9809, 67-2 BCA  6499).
    73 For all intents and purposes, the language of GPO's
    "Inspection and Tests" clause replicates the standard
    inspection clause found in most Government contracts.  See,
    McDonald & Eudy Printers, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 19 (citing,
    Mid-American Business Forms Corporation, supra, Sl. op. at
    18).
    74 The selection method preferred by GPO is random sampling.
    See, B. P. Printing and Office Supplies, supra, Sl. op. at 19
    (citing, Report No. 27, Insuring that the Sample is
    Representative of the Lot, p. 3).  The record indicates that
    random sampling was used for the test of the forms in this
    case (R4 File, Tab K).
    75 As Cripps testified at the hearing, his reaction to being
    told that the word "VOID" would not photocopy on the forms
    shipped to the VA was: ". . .[W]e [didn't] understand because
    we [had] copied it on various machines, not just ours.  And
    what standard-that was our question-what standard [was GPO]
    using.  Was it on the normal setting, the dark setting, the
    light setting.  What do we have to go with it on, a Minolta
    copier; was it on a Xerox.  We didn't know."  See, Tr.
    156-57.
    76 Prior to the establishment of the Board in 1984, appeals
    from final decisions of agency contracting officers were
    decided under a GPOCAB system in which cases were considered
    by three-member ad hoc panels operating under the overall
    supervision of GPO's General Counsel.
    77 As for its conclusion that a default cannot be based on
    unstated specifications, the ad hoc panel believed that the
    Government's failure to present evidence of what constituted
    satisfactory continuous operation was fatal to its case, and
    it was "not persuaded that two or three brief stoppages in
    two boxes out of 540 constituted a failure to meet the
    requirements of the contract."  See, Elgin Business Forms,
    supra, Sl. op. at 8-9.  Furthermore, the panel refused to
    rely on GPO's tests of the forms, including an examination
    which it ordered, because of a problem it had with the
    acceptability standard utilized.  See, Elgin Business Forms,
    supra, Sl. op. at 9.  In its view, the forms were measured
    against subjective criteria based on personal opinion, rather
    than objective standards based on NASA's actual experience
    with the forms on the equipment to be utilized.  See, Elgin
    Business Forms, supra, Sl. op. at 9-10.  Accord, Shepard
    Printing, supra, Sl. op. at 18-19 (the Board concluded that
    the inspection report, by itself, would not support GPO's
    decision, made in partial reliance thereon, to default the
    contract, because the compliance officer had misapplied the
    QATAP requirements and the test findings were conflicting,
    confusing and inaccurate).
    78 As the Board has said on numerous occasions, while it is
    not bound by the decisions of the GPOCAB, its policy is to
    follow their rulings where applicable and appropriate.  See,
    Universal Printing Company, supra, Sl. op. at 11, fn. 9; R.C.
    Swanson Printing and Typesetting Company, GPO BCA 15-90
    (March 6, 1992), Sl. op. at 28, fn. 30, 1992 WL 382924;
    Shepard Printing, supra, Sl. op. at 14, fn. 19; Chavis and
    Chavis Printing, supra, Sl. op. at 9, fn. 9.
    79 As the Appellant demonstrated at the hearing, even the
    reprinted form could not meet such a standard (Tr. 325-27;
    App. Exh. No. 21).
    80 The only printing attribute defect shown on the VA's
    Notice of Quality Defects is for a solid or screen tints
    color match (P-9) (R4 File, Tab H).  However, by virtue of
    the parties' stipulation, that issue is removed from this
    case (Tr. 328).
    81 These tests simply mirrored the parties' results prior to
    the rejection of the original shipment of forms; i.e., the
    Appellant's pre-delivery tests satisfactorily produced the
    "VOID" pantograph, and the Respondent's pre-rejection
    inspection, made on three copiers (two used by Nowalk and one
    by Leonard), produced only blanks.
    82 The Board notes that except for the blank copies of the
    SPFs submitted to GPO by the VA with its original complaint
    (R4 File, Tab H), there is no evidence of any further tests
    being performed on the customer-agency's photocopiers.
    Compare, Elgin Business Forms, supra, Sl. op. at 3,  7.
    83 The Board has also considered four other arguments made by
    the Appellant in the context of in this case, and rejects
    them.  First, the Board does not believe that there is any
    basis for a finding that the Respondent breached its implied
    duty to cooperate with the Contractor and not hinder its
    performance.  In that regard, as the Board has already found,
    GPO was within its rights under the PPR not to accept the
    Appellant's pre-production proof.  See, note 13 supra.
    Furthermore, while not an exact replica of the SPF, the
    specimen check was a proper sample within the meaning of the
    contract.  See, New South Press, GPO BCA 45-92 (November 4,
    1994), at Sl. op. 23; Web Business Forms, Inc., GPO BCA 31-89
    (July 22, 1994), Sl. op. at 14; Printing Unlimited, supra,
    Sl. op. at 11-15.  Second, the doctrine of estoppel does not
    apply here.  In other words, there was no Government conduct
    on which the Appellant could have reasonably relied in
    concluding that certain contract requirements had been
    waived.  See, Automated Datatron, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 6-8
    and cases cited therein.  Accord, Industrial Data Link
    Corporation, ASBCA No. 31570, 91-1 BCA  23,382.  Third,
    contrary to the Appellant, the Board does not believe that
    the "superior knowledge" doctrine has any place in this case.
    In order to recover under the "superior knowledge" doctrine,
    a contractor must show, among other things, that the
    knowledge purportedly withheld was not reasonably obtainable
    from other sources.  See, American Combustion, Inc., ASBCA
    No. 43712, 94-3 BCA  26,961, at 134,244-45 (citing, H.N.
    Bailey & Associates v. United States, 196 Ct. Cl. 166,
    177-78, 449 F.2d 376, 382-83 (1971); Max Jordan
    Bauunternehmung v. United States, 10 Cl. Ct. 672, 679 (1986),
    aff'd, 820 F.2d 1208 (Fed Cir. 1987)); Helene Curtis
    Industries v. United States, supra.  The rule of Helene
    Curtis is that the Government must share its superior
    knowledge which is vital to the successful completion of the
    contract.  However, the corollary to this postulate is that
    the Government is under no duty to volunteer such
    information, if the contractor can reasonably be expected to
    obtain the facts from other sources.  See, H.N. Bailey &
    Associates v. United States, supra.  Accord, Dynamite
    Graphics, [No GPOCAB No.] (August 31, 1979), Sl. op. at 13,
    1979 WL 28892.  In this case, the record discloses that there
    were at least 34 other firms holding Standard Register
    licenses from which the Appellant could have gotten the
    information it was looking for, particularly with respect to
    the "VOID" pantograph.  The Contractor has offered no reason,
    and none is apparent from the record, why it could not have
    contacted those firms.  Thus, the Appellant has failed to
    demonstrate any lack of disclosure of knowledge not
    reasonably available elsewhere.  Finally, the Board sees
    nothing in the facts here which would raise an issue of
    "commercial impracticability."  To come within the limited
    doctrine of impossibility, which encompasses commercial
    impracticability, one must show actual impossibility or that
    performance could be achieved only at excessive and
    unreasonable cost; a showing of simple economic hardship is
    not sufficient.  See, Jennie-O Foods, Inc. v. United States,
    217 Ct.Cl. 314, 328-29, 580 F.2d 400, 409 (1978); American
    Combustion, Inc., supra, 94-3 BCA at 134,243.  See also,
    Natus Corporation v. United States, 178 Ct. Cl. 1, 371 F.2d
    450 (1967); Whitlock Corporation v. United States, 141 Ct.
    Cl. 758, 159 F.Supp. 602, cert. denied, 358 U.S. 815 (1958).
    The burden of proving impracticability lies with the
    contractor, who must also show that its difficulties were not
    attributable to its own subjective fault.  See,
    Intercontinental Manufacturing Company, Inc. v. United
    States, 4 Cl. Ct. 591, 598-600 (1984); GLR Constructors, ENG
    BCA No. 6021, 94-3 BCA  27,216, at 135,653; Crown Welding,
    Inc., ASBCA No. 36107, 89-1 BCA  21,332, at 107,571; HLI
    Lordship Industries, Inc., VABCA No. 1785, 86-3 BCA  19,182,
    at 97,026.  Accord, JR Composition, GPO BCA 8-86 (May 19,
    1989), Sl. op. at 1, 1989 WL 384978 (citing, Koppers Company
    v. United States, 186 Ct. Cl. 142 (1968)).  Moreover, a
    contractor can disprove its own claim of commercial
    impracticability by showing that to some extent it can
    successfully perform as expected under the contract.  See,
    GLR Constructors, supra, 94-3 BCA at 135,653; American
    Combustion, Inc., supra, 94-3 BCA at 134,243.  Here, the
    demonstrative evidence of both parties indicates that the
    Appellant was, indeed, able to produce a form which could
    reproduce the "VOID" pantograph on some photocopiers.  See,
    App. Exh. Nos. 10-18; R. Exh. No. 1 (Savin 7500, Room C-830).
    For that reason alone, there is no basis for finding that a
    situation of commercial impossibility existed in this case.
    84 During the hearing, the Contracting Officer offered to
    send a GPO inspector to the Appellant's printing plant to
    inspect a random sample of those forms, and said that the
    Government would purchase remaining pads if, based on that
    test, the forms complied with the contract specifications, as
    written (Tr. 309).  In the Board's view, the Contracting
    Officer's offer is the appropriate route for the Contractor
    to take in pursuing payment for the 96,000 pads of forms
    which it never delivered to the VA.  However, the parties are
    reminded that any subsequent evaluation of the product at the
    Appellant's plant should be made on a reasonable cross-
    section of photocopy machines, and follow the guidance in the
    QATAP Manual for randomly selecting samples of a sufficient
    size to ensure the statistical validity of the test.
    85 See, note 35 supra.