A patent is a way to own intellectual property, in other words it is a proof of ownership of an idea, concept, piece of art, or similar such work. Patents are a method of owning an idea with the goal being the inventor or creator of that piece of intellectual property is able to benefit from it, thereby incentivizing the person to sharing this intellectual property for the betterment of society. Imagine if someone were to invent a better method of plowing roads, but because they fear their inability to profit from this invention, they do not sell in to anyone and instead the old method is still used, this could lead to traffic jams and car crashes that could have been avoidable if the inventor were incentivized to share their intellectual property. That is the point of patents. A patent says that the person who invented the new way to clear roads of snow, if they get a patent on the invention, will then be able to be the sole owner of this invention for a number of years, this will also stop people from trying to steal others ideas for their own profit. For this reason I feel the theory of patents are a good idea. They incentivize innovation, punish idea theft, reward sharing intellectual property, and contribute to the public good generally. I feel like patents really do help society. If there were no patents, companies would simply steal inventions from one another and so they would then be less likely to share those inventions in the first place, especially smaller companies. If a smaller company came up with an invention and no patents existed, a bigger company could simply steal the inventions make it cheaper and then drive the smaller company out of business. While this could still happen in other ways, patents provide at least a little protection for inventors and creators. Patents on software makes sense to me. Software can be invented, revolutionized, improved, and marketed just like physical inventions and hardware. So for the same reasons patents are theoretically good for physical ideas, they are also good for software intellectual property. The existence of patent trolls show that the system is working but flawed. This flaw also does not have an easy solution. Patent trolls are taking advantage of necessary parts of the patent system. These patent trolls are focussing on the buying and selling of patents. While at first it may not make sense to be able to buy or sell patents, it is actually a great way for companies to continue to innovate. If a company comes up with a patent to actually enforce the patent they have to be constantly monitoring all similar uses and devices, trying to see if anyone is stealing the patent. That requires a large number of employees and a lot of time. If this hypothetical company is able to sell their patent to a company who specializes in the protection of patents, they are able to make money from the patent and the patent is able to be protected. However, patent trolls are not trying to protect patents of other people and still allow innovation, they are simply attempting to maximize how much money they are able to make off of each patent. I am not sure what the solution to patent trolls is, but I hope it is not the elimination of patents, because I feel patents can be great in supporting innovation.