Of course there’s a great deal of concern over modern patent trolling and the patent system in general. The system was recently changed to award patents to the first person to file rather than the first to invent, and of course the threat of patent trolling has stifled a great deal of potential innovation.
The thing is, it’s not like this is just starting now. America suffered due to patent fuckery at the start of the first World War, for instance. And that happened because the Wright Brothers were busy suing the fuck out of everyone and anyone who tried to build planes. The result of this was that other designers fucked off to Europe (and France in particular) to escape them. While they were busy lawyering up, the other designers were actually taking flight technologies up a few notches.
In this case it wasn’t until 1917 when the president stepped in to knock some heads together and encourage them to build a ‘patent pool’ so that other manufacturers could share the licenses the Wrights owned, allowing the US to start building a useful number of military aircraft. Aircraft, incidentally, more closely following the Wrights’ competitors’ designs than the Wrights’ by then long outdated Flyer design, because they hadn’t been innovating. They’d been suing.
Anyway, the more you know.