We all know patent trolls waste everyone's time and money, leech off the productive and innovative, and are generally annoying. If you're into the independent software development scene at all, you probably support a few developers that have been trolled. It's expensive and wasteful and we all know it -- well, we all have anecdotal evidence to support that claim anyway, but now, thanks to researchers at Boston University, we now have a study we can point to and that study shows innovators have lost $500 billon to patent trolls since 1990.
Authors James Bessen, Mike Meurer, and Jennifer Ford estimated the losses by checking the drop in a company's stock valuation shortly after a lawsuit had been filed against it, and did this for a whopping 1,630 lawsuits. The average loss per defendant was $122 million. At this point, a patent troll might argue that this loss is intended to make its way to the innovators who were "wronged" in the first place, but the study pretty clearly shows that that isn't the case.