You are all making some good points here.  

I don't think we should do away with patents but what we have now with the patent system is not the ideal situation.  If I have a patent and want to take on GE because they stole my idea,  I would have to come up with millions of dollars to fight GE and their army of attorneys.  Going to court is always a lose situation for the one without resources and money.  So as far a patents helping the little guy I do NOT believe this is true anymore. 

Patents do help larger corporations protect their ideas but they have abused the system in patenting everything and now it is used as a weapon in court rather than real ideas moving innovation forward.  

There is also a lot of patent lawyers filing lawsuits on patents they have purchased.   I think in order to file a patent lawsuit you need to have created a product using that idea in order to have patent protection.  Ideas without products are a dime a dozen and should not be protected.