Three Boston University researchers have produced a rigorous empirical estimate of the cost of patent trolling. And the number is breath-taking: patent trolls («non-practicing entity» is the clinical term) have cost publicly traded defendants $500 billion since 1990. And the problem has become most severe in recent years. In the last four years, the costs have averaged $83 billion per year. The study says this is more than a quarter of US industrial research and development spending during those years.
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