I hereby patent making sarcastic article titles
In today's interconnected and industrialised age, patents make as much sense as medical doctors treating sick people for evil spirits.
Problem 1 - Novelty, or rather, the lack of it. Too many ideas are easily imagined by reasonably clever people who are bombarded with information daily on the internet; the days when only a "competent practitioner of the art" could come up with something novel are for the most part gone for good. True novelty is rare.
Problem 2 - Discovery vs. Invention. Many things such as software, business processes and computer architecture are essentially mathematical abstractions and are as such discovery rather than invention. These should not be patentable in the first place.
Problem 3 - Abuse of patents. Company A buys IP for B, not to use B but to prevent it competing with product C, even if B might have been better.
Problem 4 - Prevention of composition. Patents prevent ideas being used as components. For example A=B+C. A is novel in itself, so is B but C is already patented. A never exists or gets compromised. Consider some of the early steam engines that had exactly this problem.
Problem 5 - Absolutist interpretation of IP ownership. A patent owner can charge as much as they want for a licence or even simply refuse to do so. There's no concept of knowledge being used to wider benefit to the world as a whole, at a reasonable cost.
Problem 6 - FUD. So many legal battles are about patents because it's not always clear whether a patent is valid, if it applies to a particular product, and so forth. Worse, we expect non-scientists (i.e., Judges and Juries) to decide such things!
Basically, patents are only sensible now for things that are novel AND require huge investment to make or market or distribute. E.g, drugs. Even there, there is a case that medical technology patents should be regulated, as people shouldn't die just so that others can make profit.
What I would like to see is this:
*Patents abolished for anything that does not need significant investment.
*Patents abolished for anything that is ultimately a mathematical abstraction.
*A legal right to use any idea as a component of another (cost to be arbitrated).
*No right to hold a patent unless the holder actually uses it.
*Specialist patent tribunals to arbitrate disputes over the above.
Probably not comprehensive or perfect, but it would be a starting point.
PS: Also, the concept of Prior Art to be explained to every lawyer in the world. With a 2x4 to the head. Especially those working for the USPTO :P