$500-billion over the past decade,* and that does not count reductions in innovation, as the trolls, as:
- The patents are frequently of very low quality.
- The proceeds from patent trolling don’t go to inventors in the first place.
The problem is that a myth of “Intellectual Property” (When I use the term IP, I mean “Intellectual Product) has been created out of a limited exclusive license created, “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries“.
In other words, this is not property law, but rather it is public interest law based on the idea that temporary and limited restrictions to the free flow of ideas and expression only to the degree that these restrictions benefit the public as a whole.
Once you start calling it “property” you encourage all sorts of arbitrary applications, and Randroid thinking, and as opposed to encouraging innovation, you hamstring it.
*My unscientific gut says that this number is probably low by at least a factor of 2, if not a factor of 10.