Do you have an idea for a product that will help put an end to those pesky “robocalls” that millions of citizens are harassed with every year? If so, the Federal Trade Commission is willing to pay you a substantial chunk of change for it.

According to a press release issued by the FTC, the agency is so fed up with trying to stop these programmed calls that they are offering $50,000 to the first person to come up with the best practical solution to putting an end to this ongoing problem.

The FTC says it fielded nearly 2,261,000 complaints about robocalls between October 2011 and September 2012. “We’re trying to tap into the technological expertise and innovation that’s out there of the American public,” said Kari Daffan, a staff attorney with the FTC.

As of right now, there are a whopping 217 million people on the federal Do Not Call list. However, even though robocalls are illegal under the 2009 Telemarketing Sales Rule, the FTC says that rule has mostly failed. “The vast majority of these calls are just scam artists,” says Daffan. “They’re just making a buck, and they often do it off of the most vulnerable consumers, like the elderly or those who do have debt.”

The winner of the “FTC Robocall Challenge” will receive a $50,000 cash prize, as well as maintain all intellectual property rights. The contest will open to the public on October 25 and run through January 17, 2013. The winner will be announced in the spring.

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