New submitter Bismillah writes "This piece of research from Boston University seems to put an end to claims that patent trolling is 'socially valuable,' and instead is a social loss. 'We estimate that firms accrued $29 billion of direct costs in 2011. Moreover, although large firms accrued over half of direct costs, most of the defendants were small or medium-sized firms, indicating that [non-practicing entities] are not just a problem for large firms.' The total cost to society could be around $80 billion, according to the researchers. What's more, the costs have gone up fourfold since 2005."