Yes there's something seriously wrong with some of the patent applications.
They are anti-competitive / anti-imaginative and it makes me wonder how in the hell they are upheld.
New Planet Money have done a brilliant one about Podcasts.
I would suspect the same issues arise with software patents.
Check this out - Some years ago Jim Logan considers podcasting on cassette tapes but can't make a success of it so folds the company. 30 years later he thinks he can sue everyone left and right despite not having created any of the technology purely based on the idea that he thought about playlists on cassette tapes (despite every person and his dog making up playlists on tapes). He even went back and recently revised the patent to add protection to his copyright.
New Planet Money is an excellent podcast if you want really interesting economic discussions.