Kill the small inventor? What a joke...
Patent laws in America are so FUBAR its not funny, the thing i hate most is the software patents.
Its an absolute joke....SEGA sued Fox Interactive who made the Simpsons Road Rage for having an ARROW that pointed in the direction of a location and for having pedestrians that jump out of the way when you drive towards them, all because of a patent it filed when it made Crazy Taxi.
How can anyone small compete with big companys who have ENTIRE DEPARTMENTS dedicated to getting patents.
As for your "little fish" analogy...idea's are of no value without execution. You might have a super cool idea for a rocket powered car that can fly, under the current American Patent system you would be given that patent, even though chances are you don't have a hope in hell of ever building a prototype if you don't have a budget in the millions.