When patents were first granted, it was on the justification that they engendered innovation and research by providing a fair incentive for companies to develop new technology. At this point, any argument relying on this justification has become completely broken.
Patents have begun to do the exact opposite of what they were meant to do. Rather than encourage development of new technologies, patents have become a way to choke the application of novel technologies in industry. So-called "patent holding companies" have become little more than extortion gangs, demanding their share of the money to which they have no right at all. Governments across the globe have extended copyright and patents, not for the protection of the people and industry, but at the behest of lobbyists.
Patents, as they exist in their current form, are not fair to anyone, except the patent owner. Governments must adopt a fairer stance in order to reverse this alarming trend. Lower the duration of patents, and adopt a system of mandatory royalties, which forces patent owners to license their patents for a fair royalty, determined by a third party.
Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (5) All right, who's the wiseguy who stuck this trigraph stuff in here?