The governor of the US state of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, has vetoed a proposal designed to safeguard businesses against ‘patent trolls’.
The reform, which was proposed by Democratic senator of Massachusetts Eric Lesser, sought to block trolls from making an infringement claim against a business on the grounds of bad faith.
It was included in bill 4732, “An act relative to economic development in the commonwealth”, in the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives.
Baker signed off other parts of the bill, but the Republican governor said that the section blocking patent trolls, which are named as such in the legislation, “is not narrowly tailored and is likely to have unintended consequences for Massachusetts residents, companies and educational institutions”.
Although he did not support the section, he did express a willingness to explore the topic further.
“While I agree that states have a role to play in deterring bad-faith assertions of patent infringement outside of the context of federal patent litigation, I believe that the legislature should revisit this topic in a future session and draft a more focused solution to this problem,” he said.
In a press release, Lesser said that he was disappointed that Baker blocked the section.
“This provision was widely supported in the tech and start-up communities as a way to protect entrepreneurs and inventors from patent trolling tactics,” he said.
According to Lesser, patent trolls “sap resources” from start-ups and deter innovation. He said that this results in the loss of thousands of jobs and potentially billions of dollars in new investments.
The senator said that Massachusetts is a global leader in innovation. He added that the state’s entrepreneurs need the protection provided by the section that was vetoed by Baker.
“Nevertheless, we will continue to fight for patent troll reform and will be filing new legislation to do so,” he commented. “Our commonwealth’s inventors and entrepreneurs are counting on us to do nothing less.”
The bill authorises more than $1 billion in grants to workforce training programmes and public infrastructure projects across Massachusetts.