Here is a somewhat interesting article by David Sirlin, mostly venting his frustration about the inadequacies of the patent system with respect to electronics. He complains about how obvious many of the non-obvious inventions are, and other general hinderances to innovation in the electronics world such as companies defensive postures regarding their IP portfolios and the excessive term limits of patents. He also seems incredulous that patent would protect the idea not just the expression: FYI, the copyright in the program itself already protects the expression, the patent protects the idea.
Another Sound Off on the Patent System
While he addresses many of the shortcomings of the current system, he also overlooks a few, such as untrained/lazy/poor examiners. This guy really is just preaching to the choir. One sign of hope however, is that some of the lawyers in the video game world I have spoke with don't really see patents as an effective offensive tool. While the Sega case shows patents can be utilized as such, this case is more the exception than the rule.