Regarding what to do about it, my preference would be to let the market decide the solution. A revenue neutral carbon tax would reduce income and sales tax (we ought to be encouraging income and spending so this is good) and it would send a price signal to move us from carbon into the new energy economy.
I like the way you think. The market is a powerful tool if it's properly set up, but can't come up with solutions on its own in many issues.
The Constitution sets up the patent system. Yes, it's Constitutional law.
Actuallly, the Constitution of the USA merely allows for it, it doesn't mandate it. Having no patent system at all would be just as constitutional as the current situation.
Somebody's terminal is dropping bits. I found a pile of them over in the corner.