Complaining about daft patents..
My Aunt worked in the UK patent office for a couple of decades. The process of evaluating a patent application was to search paper records for prior art. The paper records had to be indexed when granted( physical cards ) and filed in the right place.
If possible prior art was uncovered, it was escalated to a more senior official (another civil servant with probably no technical background) who had to deal with dozens of applications a day.
In these days of Bingle we can very quickly find information, some of it true and accurate, but back in the last century when the index had few keys (possibly date of application, some vague words of description supplied by a non-technical clerk), the task of sorting through the index card by card and looking up the patent filing was very time consuming, boring, poorly paid work.
Thus it was only after WW2 that we discovered the Germans had obtained a UK patent on the Enigma machine in the 1930s.
I agree the broad, over-reaching patent is possibly unfair and stifles competition, but the idea of a patent is to protect someone who has a good idea from having said idea ripped off. See Joseph Swan and Edison.