If you have some free time today take a deep dive into Wired’s The Patent Problem which takes a good long look at the history of the US Patent system, how software came along and kind of messed things up, and why some people say it’s strangling innovation. It’s a long one, but interesting nonetheless.
The past three decades of wanton patent-granting have created a disastrous environment for innovation. Today it’s practically impossible to build anything without violating a patent of some kind—and risking a multimillion-dollar lawsuit for your troubles. Once intended to protect lone inventors, patents now form a kind of shadow tech industry, in which billions of dollars are spent on amassing huge portfolios. (A recent New York Times article noted that Apple and Google, companies that define themselves by innovation, now invest more in patent acquisition and defense than in research and development.)
Bonus, when you read the whole article you can learn about Patent Troll (which is a thing I didn’t know existed).