Michael Crichton wrote an essay critical of the current patent law: This Essay Breaks the Law. I believe the US is making significant mistakes in how we are proceeding with the patent system, see: The Patent System Needs to be Significantly Improved.
A recent article from Money offers an interesting idea (to try anyway) for one part of the problem. Patent review goes Wiki
It is also an example of an interesting potential innovation.
Says the commissioner for patents, John Doll: “We’re just trying to put the finishing touches on the details before we roll it out to the [head of the Patent and Trademark Office] and get the final approval to move ahead.”
Noveck thinks the test could launch early in 2007. If successful, the approach could then be implemented throughout the patent office.
A good plan because while I think this idea is potentially worthwhile, in practice it might not prove to be worthwhile.