Timothy B. Lee has a great look at the ‘patent problem’:
The key question is whether patents have a net effect of encouraging innovation. And there’s no reason to believe this is the case. To start with, a big chunk of patent revenues simply flows to patent lawyers.
See also his statement on failed companies:
But the reason the auctioned patents are valuable is usually because the winning bidder will turn around and demand licensing fees from the failed company’s more-successful competitors, effectively punishing success.