“The granting of patents ‘inflames cupidity', excites fraud, stimulates men to run after schemes that may enable them to levy a tax on the public, begets disputes and quarrels betwixt inventors, provokes endless lawsuits...The principle of the law from which such consequences flow cannot be just.”
That is what the Economist had to say about patents... in 1851. The idea that inventors (both people toiling in their garage and Big Pharm companies spending billions on medical R&D) should be encouraged to invest their effort into research and share the results by allowing them to profit from them, is a valid one. But patents are, and have been for over a century, a particularly poor way to ensure reward for inventors without stifling innovation. And remember that patents were not even invented with the purpose of ensuring a profit for inventors; the purpose was to encourage inventors to share so that society as a whole might benefit. The inventor's profit was a means rather than an end.