Velcroman1 writes: Other than the shifty eyes and faint smell of cheap aftershave, it’s often hard to identify a patent troll. The derogatory term "patent troll" describes a company established as a legal entity solely to make cash through patent lawsuits — stifling creativity and emptying the bank accounts of even the smartest Silicon Valley start-up. According to a 2011 report by the Boston University School of Law, patent trolls have cost U.S. companies about $500 billion in lost capital. Drew Curtis, the founder of Fark.com, calls them terrorists to be avoided at all costs. “It boils down to one thing: don’t negotiate with terrorists,” Curtis said during a talk at the TED 2012 conference in Long Beach, Calif. He explained how he won a patent dispute over e-mail newsletters by refusing to settle.