Software patents are utter bullshit from word one. They should just go away and stay away.
The main thing wrong with software patents is the nonobviousness bar. That bar should be a lot higher that it is before a patent is accepted. Something like the one-click patent should not be allowed.
Hardware patents are something else, but it's pretty clear they are being *very* poorly managed.
Digital hardware is not very different software, it's just more parallel and more limited than software.
Verilog/VHDL are very similar to C/Ada.
Perhaps a way for society to pay for an invention, and once that's been done, it goes right into the "available to everyone" pool.
LOL, doesn't the current patent system already do that? Oh, you meant a system where the customers (society) decide the price of a patent and pay only once, like a salary. That's stupid, because customers will always low-ball what they want to pay, especially the open source folks, who think everything should be free. The price of any goods/service should be set by the seller, not the buyer. The buyer only has the right to buy or not buy. Anything else is fascism or communism.
Panels of experts setting perceived value and an immediate payment being made, followed by a revisit ten years later to determine how it all went, with extra reward possible if the invention's impact was underestimated?
LOLOL, nobody knows how much a patent is worth beforehand. It could be worthless, or a few bucks, or billions. Unless these experts are mind readers, there's no way they can estimate the price of the patent. You just want to create a system where the patent holders are royally screwed and you can get their ideas for cheap.