I think I am probably of the opinion of many others that protecting your own ideas is fair enough (although I could be convinced that people should help each other) but let us say for instance that someone spends millions developing a working fusion reactor, it would be unfair if everyone just copied that idea and capitalised on someone else's investment but sadly for most software patents, they involve, in my opinion, virtually no 'intellectual property' but which are basically money making schemes that make lawyers rich and everyone else poorer. Let us start with something like MP3. Presumably this took time and effort to develop and is a protected technology, which although you might disagree with the marketing model, few people would argue with. Let us however look at some other patents like 'pinch to resize' and 'using clever routing to improve connection speeds'. Firstly, these require no intellectual prowess to conceive. In the same vein, I could conceive of flying cars and teleporters but without developing these I should not have the right to the intellectual property for these just because I can run fastest to the patent office. More significantly however, the idea itself does not provide a competitor with much. They still have to code it/implement it and this surely is where the cleverness comes in. It seems that most of these patent cases appear in the USA, the most materialistic and capitalistic country in the world? A country that panders to the dollar more than to the community or to progress in general. Even Google who are famously open and generous with their offerings seem to get stuck in this area since the old-fashioned companies attack them for sharing this amazing knowledge with the world at large rather than selling it for the money that only marketers dream of. Shame on you MS, BT, Apple, Google etc. Get over yourselves and start being proactive rather than reactive. Make stuff that people want to buy and don't pretend that you are unfairly losing market because someone made something that was the same colour as yours!