"Hell, even that would be a huge improvement over what we've got."
No, it wouldn't, because in effect that's what we already have. I get the impression you don't like what we already have. My point was that it isn't supposed to be that way.
"... the purpose of obtaining the patent (or copyright for that matter) isn't to put things out on the market & make profits. Instead, it's about locking up the ideas to stifle the progress of others. "
I think we agree that, too, is not the way it's supposed to be. But "first to market" doesn't solve that problem, it just hides it. So... you market your idea. To two people. One buys. What does that accomplish? Granted, that's a ridiculous example but what we have now is ridiculous, so I don't think it's unrealistic.
I think the whole point here is to prevent patent trolling. TFA says universities are against this, but so what? Why should universities be granted patents in the first place? They're taxpayer-funded institutions. Their inventions should therefore not be "protected" from the public.
The law that allowed corporate-university partnerships to patent innovations was a mistake. It hasn't done the public any good, and again, I think we agree that the whole idea of the patent system is "the public good".
But on the same note: getting rid of the incentives of patents would also not be in the public good. We need to find a balance.