Congress may be out of town, but that doesn't mean it can hide from Beltway lobbyists. Giving lawmakers a little nudge to make sure they keep their promise to take up patent reform legislation addressing patent troll abuses when Congress returns Sept. 9, four associations are launching an ad campaign tomorrow in 17 states.
Both the print and radio ads are running in states and districts of lawmakers that sit on the committees of jurisdiction for the issue, such as Virginia, home to Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R), chairman of the House judiciary committee; and Vermont, home to Senate judiciary chairman Patrick Leahy (D). Other states include Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio and Texas.
A 60-second radio ad starts tomorrow and will run for a week. The full-page print ad will run in the Sunday editions of papers such as the Des Moines Register, the Hartford Courant and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Aimed at local business owners, the radio ad asks the listener to "imagine you start the business of your dreams" only to have it be ruined by a patent troll that bullies the business owner with a letter threatening a lawsuit over a common business practice unless you pay $100,000.
"Because these trolls suck $80 billion a year out of our economy, they won't stop until Congress makes them. Go to stopbadpatents.com. Tell Congress to stop bad patents and stop the trolls," the radio ad says.
Four associations are behind the campaign: The Internet Association, the National Restaurant Association, the National Retail Federation and the Food Marketing Institute.
“Patent trolls use bad patents to bully companies of all sizes, in every economic sector, from coast to coast,” said Michael Beckerman, president and CEO of the Internet Association. “This is essentially legalized extortion, forcing hard working businesses to go to court or write a check—money they can't spend on hiring and growth.”
A bill aimed at stopping patent troll abuses is one of the few things that could move in Congress this year. Right before the August recess, a coalition of more than 50 organizations met with Leahy and Goodlatte, who promised draft legislation soon after the August recess.
The campaign could help keep Congress on track.