I'm a true believer in the Patent system. I think that intellectual property rights should be respected and that true 'innovative' development should be rewarded.
I also think that US Patent system is 'borked' and that the issue is now starting to affect commerce and development - as such Congress may start to pay attention to fixing something that's been broken for a long time.
(BTW here's a thought - how come patents are issued on a country by country basis? how about we shut down the USA patent system and move it to Singapore or Moscow and make it a 'Universal' patent system with a single application enforceable globally?)
There is an court case currently between Verizon and Vonage (one of the most successful VoIP companies in the USA) where Verizon are claiming to own very generic (IMHO) patents about taking a voice call from voip to the pstn.
I just came across a great article that summarises it today, and one of the quotes from it summarises this issue perfectly
"Verizon can’t make the Internet go away with a patent lawsuit".
Anyway, read, enjoy - let me know what you think.