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I, as an American, also agree: Software patents suck majorly.
More to the point, patents in general are contrary to the emerging socialization / collaboration / open XXXXXX movements in general. Sharing ideas and code is what it's all about, and finding ways to get things built by utilizing collaborative systems. Patents are the opposite of all of that. Just talking about "regular" patents which are *supposed* to have a point, someone is rewarded for doing a whole bunch of work and coming up with things that no one else has come up with. That is basically never ever the case. All the things that are come up with are derived from other close concepts which already exist, so what about all their teachers and friends and books and the Internet that gave them that information they used to come up with the finished concept/product/invention? To own a monopoly on an incremental improvement, and thus barring subsequent improvements in that area, and chilling research and effort in that area, should be illegal.
Software patents/monopolies are just extra abysmal due to the fact that software = art = ideas. Like patenting a book, or math equations..