Marco Arment makes a strong case for abolishing software patents:
The entire software industry works like this, and the use of patents is very rare relative to all software that’s written. The market rewards applied innovation, but doesn’t try to artificially inhibit competition. It combines the best parts of capitalism, collaboration, and a vast public domain.
I largely agree with what he is saying from a philosophical standpoint, but I still think it is not the right approach right now.
It is much the same of how I would love for all iPhone apps and social services to be free, but I realize that we need to pay for them. That is to say, I agree with Marco and would very much like the system gone, but by the same token I don’t think that it is right move here.
In my mind it is much more than just an overhaul of the patent system that we need, it is a rethinking of what is patentable and how we will — and should — be able to apply these things in the future.