These days anything can be patented, like "Method of Swinging on a Swing", or "Method to watch TV, talk to your wife, and work at the same time" (by the way, I am planning to patent that!). World patent system, especially USPTO, has become an overworked and revenue driven institution that require a complete overhaul.
This week I came across 2 interesting patents - one from Google and one from IBM. Google patented the classic "search page" with a big text box in the middle with minimal buttons. Yes, this is for an HTML page with a text box and couple of buttons. Be careful creating simple HTML pages, you may be in violation of something!
Second was more interesting. IBM patented a gadget such as TV remote that can Tweet and participate in other social conversations. Yup, you don't even need to type in anything. With a click of a button, you can post what you are watching to your favorite social networking website. I am sure, this will surely start an avalanche patents such as "cars that can tweet where you are going", "microwave that can tweet what you are cooking", and so on. See the patent automatic blogging while media viewing.
As long as patent lawyers exist and they drive the reforms, I doubt we can see any improvement on mad rush for patents and lawsuits. I am all for patents to drive innovation and do believe credit should be given to inventors. But, I am totally against patent enforcements and lawsuits. It's time for an "Open Source Patent" system.