I don't often go from irritation directly to righteous indignation, but I'm there today.
You'll find five patent related articles in the news section of this site this week. Some sound an alarm. One offers some hope in the headline, only to dash it with the author's words.
Patents are today's popular whipping boy. Patent holders are said to be "trolls" unless they're a large business. Pundits offer that many patents are "obvous" or not worth what the patent holder demands for a license to use the patent. Much of the criticism is based on incorrect "facts" and assumptions.
Take one author's attribution to unnamed participants ""fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms has no legal content" leaves the impression that the statement is true. Far from it. The only time that this criteria really comes into play is during a lawsuit over the patent licenses. The generally accepted requirement is that under like circumstances, two licensees must be supplied licenses on similar terms. That means money.
Very few licensees are truly granted under similar circumstances. Take the semiconductor industry for example. The industry has been typified by broad cross licenses between semiconductor companies, combined with application or technology specific sub-portfolios which are separately licensed. And that's a financially motivated decision to be made by each company. Capitalism at its best the free capital market adherents would say.
Lest anyone think that I don't see problems with all of the patenting systems, I do see problems. The quality of issued patents needs to improve in many art groups substantially. Most of us have dealt with root cause analysis and learned that you don't fix a basic problem by designing more stuff around it. So it is with patents. Fix the quality first. Then spend effort if required on the rest of the system.
Oh, journalists have a responsibility that's not being met. Present both sides of an issue.