Our patent offices have really lost sight of:
'non obviousness'--really how can one NOT say that 1 click shopping, encrypting purchases or emailing a scanned image are obvious!
Limited scope, specifity-- patents are getting successfully applied to technologies that DID NOT EXIST when the patent was filed. BTW I have patented an anti-gravity flying machine, if anyone figures out how to build it, they owe me big royalties.
On the mirror side of the limite scope issue, it seems that prior art is often not considered relevant it it does not directly use the same technology as the patent. This is a bizarre one way interpretation: if a prior art is not exactly the same, it's patentable, but if it's patented, if an implementation is not exactly the same it's still a violation.
And don't even get started on 'business model patents'.
Really if the PTO actually started making patenting represent real tangible contributions rather than a bunch of stuff for lawyers to get employed, many of our problems would be resolved.
-- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --