Without patents, most people wouldn't have the drive to develop their product. Money drives people, unfortunately. A larger company with more money could come in, take an idea and run with it, leaving the patent-less inventor empty handed. I agree the patent system is flawed and needs correcting, but, entrepreneurs absolutely need to protect their ideas.
Most people seem to think you have a great idea, patent it and develop it and make money. HA. First of all, patents generally cost $10-50k each by the time they're approved. Second, only 0.01% or so of all patents are actually useful and make the inventor money. Third, an inventor has to continually improve on their product, and write new patents to protect themselves. Another company can come along and submit a patent as an improvement on the original patent, thereby skirting the original patent or forcing the original company to license it.
Finally, even if you have a great idea, a great team and good financing, an idea still has a good probability of failing. Writing a patent is pretty easy. Developing the patent into a product, including manufacturing, marketing, etc. is damn hard. If it was easy, everyone would be rich ;).