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I had a different idea to address much of the same points. We have 2 problems: how to get a patent and what is the effect of the patent. So
1) Patents must be granted based on publications in government-approved professional peer reviewed journals. This has a lot better chances of weeding out bogus/vague/trivial submissions than anything PTO officials can ever dream of.
2) A patent entitles its holder to reduced tax rate on income from the invention. No monopoly rights of any kind.
Second part is probably too radical to be implemented. Alternatively some mix of the following is at least an improvement on the current state:
* Limit patent term to 5 years, at least for "technology" patents.
* Force FRAND-style licensing for all patents.
* No enforcement by non-practising entities. Aggressor must prove practising for the whole duration of his damages claim.
* Patent holder must actively defend it to preserve his right for future litigation, a-la trademark law. This prevents someone from hiding patents and then going after successful implementations when they generate enough income to become an attractive target. Edited 2012-07-06 02:17 UTC