Created as a mechanism for protecting the investment required to fund innovation, patent law has created havoc when applied to software development. The USPO grants 40000-odd software patents each year. This number does not reflect the real innovation of the technology industry -- it is in fact a symptom of a broken system.
The overwhelming majority of software patents are overly broad, uninteresting, and, more importantly, not actually novel.
askpatents.com seeks to address this problem.