I think there should be a limit on what you can patent as an original idea (or trademark for that matter, but that is a different discussion). As it stand people can patent a fart, and it will probably be granted. Someone even patented a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
First case: patents for the sake of extortion - If you patent something, i think they should give you a period of time to implement it into your own working products. If you just patent something without the intent to use the design yourself, in a product you own, the patent should expire if you haven't use it in a working product in a set period. What is the point of inventing and not actually market your invention?With this amendment you could get a preliminary patent and still safely talk to investors to market and fund you product, since the intent is there. There will be the exceptions of course which could be granted since it is being researched, but at least they can prove research is in progress.
Second issue: Vagueness for maximum litigation options - Most of the patents out there, especially around software and design, are so vague that it covers a broad spectrum of existing products. This leaves the system open for abuse. So instead of getting a patent for a counter on screen, the patent should be for a counter on screen, position, font, working script and business case on where it will be applied. It has to be very specific for what you invented it for, as well as the target market, not just "Something will happen when it reach 0".