We will always have to go through this. As far as business interests are concerned, patents are simply assets, and sometimes extremely valuable ones. I doubt that such interests would risk the loss of such valuable assets.
For the record, I am against software patents. I'll give you an example of why.
I have the Microsoft Office 2007 Beta. The new "Ribbon" interface is perhaps the most brilliant thing to come out of Microsoft in quite a long while. It alone will likely drive sales - read upgrades - of Office if only because it exposes functionality that has been there since Office 97, but has been hidden behind a bewildering array of menus, toolbars, and dialog boxes.
Is it entirely new? No. I have seen similar interfaces on web sites.
But here is the problem: there are several programs that I could think of that would benefit from the "Ribbon". Adobe Photoshop comes immediately to mind. Imagine having a tabbed toolbar, with a tab for "Home" containing the basic tools, a tab for "Masks", one for "Channels", etc.
Of course if - or more likey, when - Microsoft patents the "Ribbon", only users of Microsoft software will benefit from it. Regardless of how much users of software from other brands might be able to benefit from it.
Copyright should be good enough for software. Patents truly stifle innovation.