The "patent mess" ultimately stems from measuring innovation by counting patents. But real innovation results from collaboration, discussion, sharing ideas. As Matt Ridley puts it, "brains are where ideas go to have sex" and make more baby ideas. Without sharing, brains are sterile.
Patents kill sharing. Paywalls and copyright kill sharing. We are developing into a society where a very small subset of people are designated creators (who are somehow supposed to thrive by suing each other) and the vast majority consumers.
With a dozen patents, I am supposedly a "creator", yet those are my failures, situations where I was insufficiently powerful to buck management and share. My very best ideas (some of them award-winning) are free as air. Please help me develop those into global game-changers.
Yes, I mean YOU. Every one of you has experience that I don't, and anybody can develop the discipline to critically examine that experience for valuable insights. You don't develop discipline if you rely on others to do your thinking for you. Creativity is not mental incontinence; most ideas suck. As Linus Pauling said, you can have great ideas if you have LOTS of ideas, and kill the bad ones early.
What if all 314 million of us in the US, and all 7 billion of us worldwide, were part-time creators? What if we started with the creativity of childhood and amplified that, rather than beating kids into dull, tame conformists?
For a good book full of useful studies, read James Bessen and Michael J. Meurer's "Patent Failure". The book is academic and not light reading, but it pretty thoroughly demolishes the idea that patents on average help innovators or create wealth. The authors suggest patents can be fixed if we improve "notice", making it clear to those concerned what particular patents actually claim. That would help a lot, but marking the land mines is not as good as preventing them in the first place.
see also PatentRant