The Wall Street Journal seems to have noticed some empirical research (rare enough in itself in the intellectual property arena) suggesting the US patent system undermines innovation.
"New empirical research by Boston University law professors James Bessen and Michael Meurer, reported in their book, "Patent Failure," found that the value of pharmaceutical patents outweighed the costs of pharmaceutical-patent litigation. But for all other industries combined, they estimate that since the mid-1990s, the cost of U.S. patent litigation to alleged infringers ($12 billion in legal and business costs in 1999) is greater than the global profits that companies earn from patents (less than $4 billion in 1999). Since the 1980s, patent litigation has tripled and the probability that a particular patent is litigated within four years has more than doubled. Small inventors feel the brunt of the uncertainty costs, since bigger companies only pay for rights they think the system will protect.
These are shocking findings... Imagine how much more productive our information-driven economy would be if the patent system lived up to the intention of the Founders, by encouraging progress instead of suppressing it."