Mark Cuban has a very good post recommending improvements to the patent law system. While his reference is clearly the US patent system, this applies to most of the patent laws around the world, including here in Canada.
I would add one more thing to Mr. Cuban’s short list of fixes. While he focuses on software patents and process patents, I would also ban the granting of patents for scientific discoveries, such as gene discoveries. Just because you were the first to discover a gene doesn’t mean you can patent it, nor do I think you should get to patent the test for it, unless there is some truly novel and non-obvious method to the test. If it was simply running a sample through a PCR, that shouldn’t count. If you had to invent a new machine, patent the machine. Otherwise it’s just a version of a process patent.
I agree with Mr. Cuban. Ban patents on software, work processes and scientific discoveries. The current system in these areas is stifling innovation and giving too much power to firms that already have market dominance and buckets of money.