'Whack-a-Troll' Tops Agenda
If history is our guide, then campaigning will take the place of any actual legislation getting pushed through Congress in 2016. A couple of items are likely to see post-election activity but, in the interim, the printing industry’s interests can be promoted on a couple of fronts.
For the lowdown on what hot button topics will be pursued during the weeks and months leading up to the presidential election, we turn to the printing industry’s leading legislative advocate/veteran lobbyist Lisbeth Lyons, vice president of government affairs for Printing Industries of America (PIA).
Patent Troll Legislation
Step aside, postal reform. The printing industry has a new cause du jour. We teased you last year with promises of a sure-fire bipartisan fix to the technology squatting but, once again, trial lawyers and pharmaceutical firms managed to throw up roadblocks on the path to a legislative solution.
In November, a non-practicing entity called High Quality Printing Inventions LLC launched more than 30 patent infringement lawsuits against printing businesses whose bread-and-butter workflow platforms are Web-enabled and customized. Deluxe Corp., Shutterfly, PrintingForLess and Cimpress (VistaPrint) were among the list of recipients of the infringement claims, filed only days before Thanksgiving. Nice touch.
Lyons points out that both the House and Senate have expressed interest on voting in the early part of 2016, and President Obama is already on record in favor of squashing the patent troll practices hampering companies of all sizes.
“Big pharmaceutical companies, especially, have been blocking it because of the impact it may have on their patent business,” Lyons says. “Congress will pass something…I just don’t know how watered down it will be.”
The PIA is aligning itself with United for Patent Reform, a business lobby that is pressing lawmakers to take action on reform legislation (S.1137/H.R. 9). Senators Chuck Schumur (D-N.Y.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) are both throwing their weight behind the cause. International issues in the second half of 2015 may have been the distraction that prevented a bill from realization last year.
Since advertising is considered an ordinary business expense, it can be deducted, thus lowering a company’s taxable income. However, one of the unfortunate elements of tax reform measures that were kicked around in 2015 involved revenue raisers, particularly one that would eliminate the 100 percent tax deductibility of advertising.
The printing industry becomes an unfortunate casualty