The reality of software patents, from a pseudonymous employee in Microsoft's future planning think-tank:
Right now anything you make violates someone's software patent. Nothing you do will not violate something someone holds. ... MS has a huge legal team that will do an evaluation before something is released to see what the predicted cost of infringement will be. I've never seen a number that reads 0 from that prediction, even for the smallest of features.
In the latest evolution of vulnerability discovery, a company called Intellectual Weapons is offering to work with researchers to develop fixes for security vulnerabilities and then patent those fixes.
Probably FUD, but still: if we needed any more evidence that software patents were a bad idea...