The concept of the patent proves to be more or more out of scope in an information society. Patents have already today completely lost their original purpose of securing an inventor the fruits of her or his efforts doing the invention but are solely being used for claims management.
1. Patents do not secure against replication. You cannot secure the idea and since the realization of an idea can be developed more and more quickly it is almost always possible to change the original product to fit the same market while avoiding the patent.
2. Patents are used in mass applications as leverage to trade with other patent holders. This hinders economic development since it generates an advantage for big companies which hinders innovation and thus is not desirable
3. If they turn out to be successful, patents hinder innovation since they make the success of an idea dependent on the marketing skills of a single company.
4. Since patent application has so little value as of 1. and 2. patents are written in a more and more generic way thus again hindering innovation by disallowing (or making more expensive) innovation in areas that are completely removed from the patent's original intention.
It can be seen even today that important technical innovation are not being patented since that will put the original idea onto the market thus proving their commercial irrelevance.
An exception to these rules (and the prediction) may be pharmaceuticals, where most of the cost is not in the development or in the production of a drug but in test and certification, so an alternative way to recoup these costs would have to be found.
Challenge Joerg W Schwieder to a bet on this prediction!