Curiously enough, some of the points made by 'anon' in the parent post here used to be part of some patent law systems in really ancient times (like 16th-18th centuries), but they were one by one abandoned, by court decisions or legislative amendments:
>> 1) Patent times are FAR too long in many cases and should not be renewable.
An early example of a time limit, fixed in 1623 in England, was 14 years from a really early time-point when patent grant took place -- which used to be almost immediately on application (compared with today's long process).
>> 2) Minor minor changes to the original patent should not result in a new patent.
One of the very early judges (even 16th century) said that small improvements were only like "a new button on an old coat" and refused to uphold the patent, setting a precedent that lasted a couple hundred years till overturned.
>> 3) Patents should only be issues where there is an actual product ... not a process.
Definition of invention used to be 'manner of new manufacture' in several countries, but that's gone now pretty much everywhere.
>> 4) Software falls under copyright and trademark laws and therefore patents do not apply.
The old definition (see 3) automatically excluded this kind of thing from patenting.
>> 5) If you have not created and sold a product to the public using said patent within 2 years of filing then you loose ALL rights to it.
For many decades (during the 19th & 20th c. in many countries, but not including US, I think) the patentee's failure to make & sell the invention used to be called an 'abuse of monopoly', it enabled others to claim the grant of (royalty-bearing) licenses by right, and it could also expose the patent to a risk of cancellation. So there was a way to achieve no exclusion from a patented invention if the patent holder wasn't doing anything about it.
it's of interest to ask 'who lobbied' for all of the changes that got rid of these old safeguards.