Like many (most?) developers, I've always thought that the software patent system is broken beyond repair. But, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I came across IBM's patent application 20070244837, "SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR
EXTOREXTRACTING VALUE FROM A PORTFOLIO OF ASSETS". It would be "laugh" if this were to be used only defensively. But "cry" seems appropriate when one reads stories like how IBM "extracted value" from Sun.
We need shed no tears for Sun which had turned to IP trolling as a survival strategy. The attempt "extracted value" (unlike SCO), but ultimately failed to keep Sun alive. Oracle is disbanding Sun units all over the place, but apparently the IP trolling department is safe.
Should Oracle succeed, I'd love to see IBM get their patent, jump in and claim a royalty along with infringement damages. Or perhaps not -- be careful for what you wish!